1975 Legislative Session: 5th Session, 30th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes
The printed version remains the official version.
THURSDAY, APRIL 17, 1975
[ Page 1433 ]
Speaker's ruling Schedule for Committee of Supply — 1433
Mr. Smith — 1433
Mr. Speaker — 1433
Hon, Mrs. Dailly — 1434
Mincome Protection Act (Bill 63). Mr. Bennett. Introduction and first reading — 1434
Burke Mountain housing project study. Mr. Bennett — 1434
Funds for Vancouver City College. Mr. Gardom — 1434
Dumping of surplus eggs. Mr. Wallace — 1435
Municipal impost fees. Mr. Curtis — 1435
Stock market manipulations. Mr. McGeer — 1435
Inquiries into other colleges. Mr. D.A. Anderson — 1436
Leasing of office space in McLaren Building. Mr. Bennett — 1437
Park acreage at Cosens Bay. Mrs. Jordan — 1437
Local workers for Hydro projects. Mr. Phillips — 1437
Government-owned aircraft attached to Highways dept. Mr. Morrison — 1437
Committee of Supply: Department of Human Resources estimates. On vote 109. Hon. Mr. Levi — 1438
Mr. McClelland — 1441
Hon. Mr. Macdonald — 1446
Hon. Mr. Levi — 1447
Mr. Gibson — 1448
Hon. Mr. Levi — 1451
Mr. Gibson — 1454
Hon. Mr. Levi — 1454
Mr. Wallace — 1454
Hon. Mr. Levi — 1459
Mrs. Jordan — 1463
Hon. Mr. Levi — 1467
Ms. Brown — 1468
Mr. Fraser — 1470
Mr. Rolston — 1470
Mr. Gardom — 1472
Hon. Mr. Levi — 1473
Appendix — 1474
The House met at 2 p.m.
HON. D.G. COCKE (Minister of Health): Mr. Speaker, I would like to introduce to the House Mr. B. Posthuma, consul-general for Belgium in Vancouver. He was your visitor for lunch today and is visiting our parliament. I would ask everyone to welcome Mr. B. Posthuma.
HON. L.T. NIMSICK (Minister of Mines and Petroleum Resources): I would like to introduce to you today two people very important to me. They hail from out of Edmonton and they are my brother and his wife, Archie and Ann Nimsick.
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Mr. Speaker, I would like the House to give a welcome to another good Conservative from the interior. Seated in the Members' gallery today is the vice-president of the Kamloops Conservative Association, Mr. Don Cameron.
HON. D. BARRETT (Premier): Mr. Speaker, I would ask the House to welcome a number of visiting government agents. They are Mr. James Dunsmuir from 100 Mile House, Mr. Lyman Sands from Penticton, Mr. Martin Leith from Port Hardy, Mr. Thomas Dobson from Port Alberni, Mr. Stan Carting from Prince George, Mr. Howard Harding from Prince Rupert, Mr. Laurie Marshall from Princeton, Spence Tatchell from Quesnell, Mrs. Esther McParlon from Fort St. James, Mr. Bert Manson from Kelowna and Mr. Rod Carmichael from Fernie.
Mr. Speaker, we have in the gallery today a group of senior secondary students from Port Coquitlam, accompanied by their teacher, Mr. Planidon, and I would ask the House to welcome them.
HON. N. LEVI (Minister of Human Resources): Mr. Speaker, I would ask leave to table a report: the Burns Lake Project — a report to the Legislature.
MR. SPEAKER: Hon. Members, before we begin, I was asked by the Hon. Member for North Peace River (Mr. Smith) to look at the question of a list or schedule for debate in the Committee of the Whole House. Looking at the schedule that was presented apparently by some Member — I believe one of the Whips — certainly it is not to be found in any formal way in any document or of any use other than as a matter of notice to anyone as to what the intention of the government may be on any day. I can see no other official use of it at all.
I would point out to the Hon. Members that under the rules of supply, which have priority over all other business, and if you look at the subject of page 699 of May, 18th edition, you will see that the initiative still is vested in the Crown as to what votes are put into committee each day when committee is called.
In the circumstances there's nothing in our rules that is objectionable that I can find in any authority — and I received no help on this from any of the Members — as to the prerogative of the Crown to submit votes as they choose each day. In the past we often had changes made, but usually they were alphabetical, as I recall it in my years here. But I see nothing in the way of the rules that prohibits it being done in the fashion in which it's being done in committee.
MR. D.E. SMITH (North Peace River): Mr. Speaker, the House Leader and the Premier of this province have referred to this particular memorandum as the schedule of the order of debate on the floor of this House. The other thing I think should be looked into is the fact that the schedule, or the memorandum, that was given to the Members of this House by the government Whip indicates a specified time for the debate of each Minister as they come up. Now I realize that it may be the government's prerogative to change the order of calling Ministers...
MR. SPEAKER: The House Leader can do that, as you know.
MR. SMITH: ...but surely it's not the prerogative of a Member of this assembly to determine in advance the amount of time that will be allocated for the debate of the estimates of any one particular department.
MR. SPEAKER: I think I made it clear — I hope I did — that no Member can dictate what the House does; the House itself will decide. When motions are put before the House, the House will decide. If the House Leader, who has the initiative when it comes to supply, puts forward a vote, then that will, in committee, be the order of business. When the House rises from committee and reports back to the House itself, at that stage that terminates the business for the day.
Now when the House does that, it is not up to any individual Member but to this House to decide on the motion to report back to the House. What I'm trying to say is that the House is still the master of its own destiny, but it must take each motion as it comes. Of course, as I pointed out, the House decides on the motions that are before it.
[ Page 1434 ]
HON. E.E. DAILLY (Minister of Education): Mr. Speaker, I just want to reiterate, as House Leader, that I'm certainly willing to listen to any suggestions from the opposition.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): We sent the Premier a letter.
HON. MRS. DAILLY: We haven't seen it yet. You've sent it to the Premier, have you? Well, I would like to receive them personally.
Introduction of bills
MINCOME PROTECTION ACT
On a motion by Mr. Bennett, Bill 63, Mincome Protection Act, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
HOUSING PROJECT STUDY
MR. W.R. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, I see that the Minister of empty office space isn't here today, so I'll address my question to the Minister of Housing. Could the Minister tell the House if he has read an environmental study into the Burke Mountain housing project proposed by Dunhill Development Ltd.?
HON. L. NICOLSON (Minister of Housing): Mr. Member, I've not yet read the study.
MR. BENNETT: Does the Minister intend to make this study public?
HON. MR. NICOLSON: I'll take the question as notice, Mr. Speaker.
MR. BENNETT: Just a further supplemental then.
HON. MR. NICOLSON: Mr. Speaker, I've not read the study.
MR. BENNETT: Does the Minister support the position of a member of Dunhill, a Mr. Werner Paulus, in saying that the study will not be made public at all? Could the Minister assure this House that the study will be made available to the public who are interested?
MR. SPEAKER: I think the Hon. Member had that question really, in effect, taken as notice because the first question would have to be answered, I would assume, and then you would follow with that as a supplementary.
MR. BENNETT: The second question was asking if he supports the member of Dunhill who has said that this will not be made public.
MR. SPEAKER: Well, I think it's somewhat hypothetical until he returns with an answer to your first question.
MR. BENNETT: Oh, no, no.
MR. SPEAKER: But he apparently is not responding and I presume he will answer at a later date.
MR. BENNETT: Why doesn't he hide like the Minister of Public Works (Hon. Mr. Hartley), and not come in?
FUNDS FOR VANCOUVER CITY COLLEGE
MR. G.B. GARDOM (Vancouver–Point Grey): A question to the Minister of Education, Mr. Speaker, concerning the critical situation facing Vancouver City College. I'm informed, Madam Minister, that the college was promised for the 1975-76 operational year funds at the 1974-75 level plus some extras, but to date they have not received any written allocation and their own figures that were furnished in December of 1974 have not been accepted by you.
I'd ask the Hon. Minister if she's aware that her department has tendered a budget that will have the net effect of reducing student enrolment by 1,211, reducing faculty and staff by 77 and completely eliminating the first year of the Vancouver School of Arts. They say in their telegram that the consequences of these cuts would be disastrous to the school and art education in B.C.
HON. MRS. DAILLY: I'm very aware, Mr. Member, of the comments made by the Vancouver City College council. The problem is that my department and the college council are working, trying to get the accurate statistics on their budget, if we do not get the facts which are needed.
In my opinion, at this time the facts have not been made clear to the department. If we cannot come to an agreement or, rather, if we cannot get the specific details of their budget which we're asking for, I may have to consider a public inquiry into the operation of Vancouver City College.
MR. GARDOM: Is it the position of the Hon. Minister that the budget, as furnished, is inaccurate?
[ Page 1435 ]
HON. MRS. DAILLY: It's incomplete. We cannot get the accurate figures.
MR. GARDOM: Is the Hon. Minister aware of the fact that the college today is running on a daily deficit basis?
HON. MRS. DAILLY: We can't tell that yet.
MR. GARDOM: Is it the policy of the Hon. Minister to inflict a 10 per cent cutback on this institution?
MR. SPEAKER: I don't think the Hon. Member can ask questions as to what government policy is on a matter of this sort, if you look in May.
HON. MRS. DAILLY: We have no intention of curtailing services at that institution.
DUMPING OF SURPLUS EGGS
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, could I ask the Minister of Agriculture, with regard to a report by Mr. Ron Floritto, the head of a major egg-producing firm in British Columbia, to the effect that there will shortly be another great surplus of eggs: is it a fact that surplus American eggs are being dumped in Canada at prices below the cost of American production?
HON. D.D. STUPICH (Minister of Agriculture): Mr. Speaker, I'm not aware of any undue quantity of American eggs entering the country right now at any price.
MR. WALLACE: I know that the Minister had a meeting in Ottawa, at the same time as the energy conference, with CEMA (Canadian Egg Marketing Agency) and I wondered if there was any discussion of this issue. If, in fact, there is to be a surplus, can we try and forestall the recent episode of millions of eggs being destroyed by trying to cooperate with the national government, perhaps in producing milk powder for countries that we've already made a commitment to help whose people are starving?
HON. MR. STUPICH: The answer is yes, Mr. Speaker.
MUNICIPAL IMPOST FEES
MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): To the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Yesterday the Minister responded to questions relating to alleged delays in municipal approval of housing developments. The Minister has also been reported elsewhere on the subject of impost fees charged by municipalities. I wonder if the Minister was correctly quoted as follows: "They charge a big impost fee (that is, municipalities) for developments they don't want, and for ones they want they don't charge any fee." Is that a correct statement?
HON. J.G. LORIMER (Minister of Municipal Affairs): No, it's not a correct statement. I don't have any questions to answer.
There aren't all that many municipalities that charge impost fees, and I'm not suggesting that they shouldn't charge impost fees. What I was saying is that in some cases — and I might say they are very few in number — impost fees are not standardized. In some developments they may be high; in a similar development somewhere else they may be low. I was saying they are not standardized impost fees within a municipality and between municipalities.
MR. CURTIS: Was there no suggestion, then, of manipulation by a council?
HON. MR. LORIMER: I didn't suggest that. It's all in the eyes of the beholder when reading the reports.
MR. CURTIS: It's so nice to have the Minister answer questions. He has an almost hypnotic effect when he does so. He nearly puts himself and other to sleep.
MR. SPEAKER: Would you try to get out of your trance and continue? (Laughter.)
MR. CURTIS: Yes. Has the Minister directed his department to determine any ways in which the municipalities of this province could derive a fair share of increased wealth which is created through the rezoning process?
HON. MR. LORIMER: Yes, we're working at that right now and we will be having some outside economists help in trying to come up with some fair plan that this might be done. I would hope that by the end of the year we'll have something to report to the Legislature, but at this stage we have nothing to report.
STOCK MARKET MANIPULATIONS
MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver–Point Grey): I was disappointed the Attorney-General was unwilling to follow up the situation disclosed in his CLEU (Co-ordinated Law Enforcement Unit) report about manipulations on the stock market. My specific question is whether or not his department has completed its investigation of the Cornat takeover, as requested by the Member for West Vancouver–Howe
[ Page 1436 ]
Sound (Mr. L.A. Williams).
HON. A.B. MACDONALD (Attorney-General): The answer is no. While we've looked at the takeover machinery and we're very interested in trying to improve that in conjunction with other provinces, we also looked at the matter — without suspicion, but nevertheless looked at the matter — of the takeover in terms of whether there was insider manipulation of any kind. The reports I have to date are that there were not such insider manipulations, but I can't say that the matter is completed.
MR. McGEER: The investigation has been going on for several months now and I wonder if the Attorney-General can give some idea of when it will be completed and if the report will be made public.
HON. MR. MACDONALD: Yes, I'll take that up with Mr. Irwin right away.
MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Member for North Okanagan.
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): The leader is ahead of me. I would like to defer to him.
MR. SPEAKER: I think he has already been recognized once. I try to recognize one person first.
The Second Member for Victoria.
MRS. JORDAN: Oh, well.... (Laughter.)
INQUIRIES INTO OTHER COLLEGES
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, a question to the....
Thanks very much. (Laughter.)
A follow-up question to the Minister of Education: may I ask the Minister whether she is contemplating an inquiry into colleges other than Vancouver City College, which she mentioned earlier today?
HON. MRS. DAILLY: Not at this time.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, may I ask her then whether she is satisfied with the procedure which these other colleges follow — which she obviously dislikes so much in the case of Vancouver City College?
HON. MRS. DAILLY: If I can clarify this — it is a reasonable question the Member has asked.
When our department officials have met with the other colleges to date to go over the budgets...certainly no college is ever happy. There is just so much money that can be given for college expenditures. This government is doing the very best it can.
In the case of Vancouver City College, we have had a number of meetings with their officials, and we cannot seem to get the facts of their particular budget made clear. The statements being made right now by the Member for Vancouver–Point Grey (Mr. Gardom) very much concern me because, in our opinion, some those statements are being made without a true picture of the budget being made available to us. When I say "true," I don't mean in any way that it has been falsified, but an accurate detailed expenditure has not been outlined to us. Because we have reached this point — unless we can get this cleared very shortly — I believe I will have to suggest that there be a public inquiry into the operation and the budget of the college.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Supplementary, Mr. Speaker, to the Minister. I thank her for her statement that this is a unique situation that does not apply to other colleges in the province. May I ask her whether she is willing personally to meet with the college officials whose practices and procedures her department dislikes so much? Is she personally willing to have a meeting?
HON. MRS. DAILLY: I don't think that at any time I said I disliked the practices and procedures of any college council. I think that is a very strong misinterpretation of what I said.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: You're going to have an inquiry. You must be happy.
HON. MRS. DAILLY: It is not a question of dislike; it is a question of trying to get something settled properly. Certainly, before I would move on this major step of a public inquiry, I would meet with the college council.
MR. SPEAKER: We've had quite a lot of time on this subject and other people require questions answered.
MR. SPEAKER: Order! One for the First Member for Vancouver–Point Grey, who hasn't been previously recognized, followed by the Leader of the Opposition.
MR. McGEER: Mr. Speaker, a supplementary to the Minister of Education: would this public inquiry she is recommending be an inquiry under the Public Inquiries Act with the commissioner? Is that what the Minister was telling the House?
[ Page 1437 ]
HON. MRS. DAILLY: As I haven't yet made this recommendation to cabinet, I cannot answer that.
LEASING OF OFFICE SPACE
IN McLAREN BUILDING
MR. BENNETT: Mr. Speaker, could the Minister of Public Works confirm to the House that on April 1, 1974, his department leased approximately 30,000 square feet of office space in the McLaren Building on Manor Street in Burnaby at an annual cost in excess of $6 a square foot?
HON. W.L. HARTLEY (Minister of Public Works): Mr. Speaker, I would be pleased to take that under advisement to check the lease and report back.
MR. BENNETT: While checking the lease, could the Minister also confirm that this leased space sat empty for the first six months of the commencement of the lease and that right now 45 per cent, or approximately 13,500 square feet, still sit empty — at a cost of $130,000 for empty rental space in this building alone? I wonder if the Minister, when he is advising on other buildings that have been asked about since March 21, could advise on the high cost of empty space in this building. It would buy a lot of hot lunches in B.C.
HON. MR. HARTLEY: I would be pleased to take this as notice, but not the implication that you have given.
MR. J.R. CHABOT (Columbia River): A growing scandal. Empty-space scandal.
PARK ACREAGE AT COSENS BAY
MRS. JORDAN: To the Hon. Minister of Recreation and Conservation. Does the acreage acquired at Cosens Bay, more commonly known in Vancouver as the Coldstream Ranch, cover the entire area recommended a few years ago by the parks branch?
HON. J. RADFORD (Minister of Recreation and Conservation): Thank you very much for that question, Madam Member. To give you an exact figure, I will take that as notice.
MRS. JORDAN: While the Minister is taking that as notice, would he please advise us when he brings his answer in whether or not other acquisitions are pending regarding this particular piece of land?
LOCAL WORKERS FOR HYDRO PROJECTS
MR. D.M. PHILLIPS (South Peace River): I would like to direct a question to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, as a director of British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority. Can the Minister advise whether local people will be given priority in filling jobs created by the Hydro project such as the Site 1 on the Peace River and the Pend-d'Oreille?
HON. MR. LORIMER: I think that belongs to the Department of Labour, but I'll take it as notice.
MR. PHILLIPS: Would you check and see if there are — I'm given to understand there are — stipulations in the contracts that local people do be given priority.
HON. MR. LORIMER: We always try to give local people the jobs on-site.
ATTACHED TO HIGHWAYS DEPT.
MR. N.R. MORRISON (Victoria): Mr. Speaker, my question is addressed to the Minister of Highways. Does the Highways department have any aircraft attached to its department which are owned by the British Columbia government?
HON. G.R. LEA (Minister of Highways): No.
Orders of the day
The House in Committee of Supply; Mr. Dent in the chair.
ESTIMATES: DEPARTMENT OF
On vote 109: Minister's office, $116,576.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): A point of order, Mr. Chairman. We've had some discussion the last couple of days about revising schedules — altering things. I wonder whether the government House Leader could now indicate whether the government has any proposals for change or whether we're going to simply continue along the...
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I don't....
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: ...lines that we have.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order! This is not a point of order of procedure. This would be a matter that should be taken up separately, privately, with the....
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Oh, no, no, no. Every Member of the House should know what's going on, surely.
[ Page 1438 ]
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. There is a vote before us and the Hon. Member should be....
MR. W.R. BENNETT (Leader of the Opposition): It's a point of order.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: It's kind of splitting hairs, Mr. Chairman.
HON. E.E. DAILLY (Minister of Education): Mr. Chairman, I'm quite prepared to answer the Member who's asking the question, if that's permissible.
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Hon. Minister.
HON. MRS. DAILLY: I simply want to say that the schedule will continue until we've had time to look over the recommendations which you have sent in and, hopefully, from the other party Members too.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Chairman, we appreciate the comment of the government House Leader. As my letter was merely three pages, I wonder whether at the end of the day we could have a meeting of House Leaders, Whips, party leaders....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. This is not a matter to be discussed in committee. Would the Hon. Member...?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order! I'll recognize someone wishing to speak on vote 109. As I say, there is no point of order.
MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver–Point Grey): On a point of order, Mr. Chairman. We're going through this at a Gabelmann gallop. (Laughter.) I can't remember when we last passed a vote in this House. Mr. Chairman, this is unprecedented.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MR. McGEER: I think the House Leader...
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MR. McGEER: ...if she is unable to get....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order! Would the Hon. Member please state his point of order in reference to the rules of the House?
MR. McGEER: I think, Mr. Chairman, the House is collapsing in terms of its effectiveness as a means for conducting public business.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. Would the Hon. Member please speak to some point of order contained in the rules of the...?
MR. McGEER: I think you should begin to take this pretty seriously, Mr. Chairman. We're not passing votes; the House is getting nowhere; the traditions of the house are being destroyed before our very eyes and the House Leader...
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. There is no point of order.
MR. McGEER: ...is not prepared to meet with the other leaders of the parties or with the Whips.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Would the Hon. Member be seated? There is no point of order.
HON. N. LEVI (Minister of Human Resources): I'll attempt to keep this short so that I won't have to....
AN HON. MEMBER: Why the podium?
HON. MR. LEVI: My arms aren't long enough, and I am standing up, if you haven't noticed. (Laughter.)
I said in September, 1974, that I'd be making a series of reports available to the Legislature and to the public over the next year in respect to the various programmes we are providing. The reports will cover such items as services to seniors, services to children and services to welfare recipients. These three areas of service cover the substantial portion of the expenditures of the department. The report I am making today looks at the situation in respect to services to young people.
In September, 1974, there were over 10,000 children in the care of the superintendent of child welfare and the three children's aid societies. Forty per cent of these children were Indian children. In the Vancouver area alone, there were over 2,000 children in care; almost half of them didn't even come from the lower mainland area. Because of the policy of apprehending children and failing to make adequate planning for their return to their homes, large numbers of these children became completely disconnected from their families and proceeded through a series of foster homes, were handled by an ever-changing number of social workers, and, in many cases, going in and out of numerous residential treatment centres. Of course, there was always the one last catchment area — Brannan Lake School for Boys, or the Willingdon School for Girls. For the older ones — the 14-, 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds — there were Oakalla Prison, the Haney Correctional Institute, New Haven Borstal School and the
[ Page 1439 ]
These facts provided the ingredients for needed change. In September, 1972, I announced that Willingdon girls school would be closed down by March 31, 1973. I stated that we were prepared to assist every community in the development of services for children by providing staff and money. I further stated that children must be kept in their own homes, and services must be provided to see that this can happen. If it is not possible to keep children at home, then they should be kept in resources within their community. Only as a last desperate measure should children be removed from their community to facilities that provide special treatment programmes.
This was not an idle or quickly developed response to the question of how to deal with children who have been in trouble with the law, have come from troubled families, could not fit into the regular school system or could not take advantage of the services and the facilities that are available to most other children. This was a policy based on a commitment to change, and based on an approach that had been suggested to this Legislature many, many times in the past.
A succession of NDP and CCF Members of the Legislature, people like Ernie Winch, Dorothy Steves, Lois Haggen, Arthur Turner, Bob Strachan and Dave Barrett, argued the case for children and for their families. These individuals were responsible for bringing to the public's attention the philosophy of dealing with children and families in their own communities. But there had to be a commitment from the government. During the 20 years of the Social Credit government there was no commitment to such a philosophy, no commitment to the needs of people in distress.
It has always been our feeling that if the challenge to change is provided and the finances are made available, then the people who work in the field will meet this challenge, and this they have done. It has not been easy, and in no way is the job anywhere near completion.
We have had to break the inevitable circle of damaged children from the damaged homes who have gone through a succession of resources away from their communities, and who time and time again wind up in one of the three negative systems: the prison system, the welfare system and the mental hospital system. It is our feeling that we have broken this circle, and we have done this by providing preventive programmes and by broadening the scope of treatment programmes.
As a government, we are aware that children are dealt with through a number of departments. For years we have defined children according to the administrative process invented to deal with them. As far as I am concerned, children are children and young people are young people. Any attempt to categorize these young people is doing a serious disservice to them and is not in keeping with the kind of empathy of which mankind is capable.
Following this reasoning, services delivered through the department to children can be viewed as ranging along the continuum of aid. Troubled families may avail themselves of counseling services or the new special-services-to-children programmes. Extra help can be given to a child in the family who is getting into trouble with the law or school. Children who must leave their home for a short period may be placed in foster homes. If they have extraordinary needs creating unusual demands on foster parents, they may be placed in a therapeutic foster home. Where foster homes are scarce and children in our care need more constant attendance by adults, they can spend time living in group homes. Residential treatment centres are resources for children who have had particularly damaging experiences and who are in need of help from us.
The point I would stress is that children come in and out of the temporary residences in their communities as needed. They must not be labeled "foster children" or "group-home children." Their stay in any care facility should not pigeonhole them for the rest of their lives.
We have available options, and I want to describe the departmental programmes for children.
Foster homes. The foster-home programme is the backbone of
the department's service to children in the province. There are
presently approximately 6,100 children in 4,100 homes. This
number varies from day to day, depending on the needs of the
children in the communities. Departmental — expenditures for
foster homes in 1974 amounted to $12 million,
Group homes. There are 114 group homes in the province, including those in the City of Vancouver, serving 733 children. The group home is intended to provide the best form of alternate care within the community for children who cannot remain in their own homes or do well in available foster homes. Last year the total cost of the operation amounted to $4 million.
Receiving homes. Thirty receiving homes in the province provide 219 beds, at a cost of $1.5 million. These are short-term, temporary residences for children taken into care until they can be returned to their families or appropriate long-range placements have been effected.
Reception and diagnostic centres. There are 13 reception and diagnostic centres in the province with a maximum capacity of 145 beds. Such centres are staffed by professionals who attempt to set tip a programme for each child and a plan for his or her future. Again, reception and diagnostic centres are viewed as short-term, temporary facilities, where appropriate long-range plans can be made on the basis
[ Page 1440 ]
of an on-site professional assessment. Expenditures on these centres during 1974 amounted to $2 million.
The present government has expanded the number of reception and diagnostic centres in the province, attempting to make them available as crisis resources at the local level. Formerly children often had to be shipped off to the lower mainland for service if they were not doing well in their own homes or in foster placements.
Therapeutic foster homes. The programme was introduced on a pilot basis, and is designed for those children who require individual attention on a one-to-one basis in a private home. Many of these children have severe emotional and physical handicaps which make it virtually impossible for them to function in other resources. At present there are 55 children in 51 homes. Departmental expenditures for this programme in 1974, the pilot project, amounted to $0.5 million.
Residential treatment centres. In the residential treatment centre programme there are 33 non-profit centres funded in British Columbia with a maximum capacity of 625 beds. These facilities are professionally staffed and provide a clearly defined treatment programme for severely disturbed youngsters. Departmental expenditures came to $10 million in 1974.
Alternate school programmes. The alternate school programmes grew out of a number of LIP projects which provided an alternate school situation in a facility outside of the regular public school classroom, the children ranging in ages from 12 to 18 years and who were not in school for a variety of reasons. Many of the children had come to the attention of the courts and some had been in custody. The programmes, staffed with people with teaching experience and child-care support staff, offer a mixture of academic subjects and a range of alternate activities such as field work, arts, crafts and vocational or employment experiences.
At present there are 50 such programmes in British Columbia providing services to over 1,000 children. Most of these programmes have been established for school dropouts from the secondary school, at a cost of $772,000. In addition we are involved in providing support services to in-school programmes at a cost of $225,000. These programmes are primarily based in elementary and junior high schools with some 600 students involved.
Special services to children. This programme was introduced in April, 1973. It is intended to make available support services for needs of children in a variety of settings: their own homes, the school system, the day-care system or any programme in which children may be involved. This programme makes individuals available on a short-term contract basis either at the time of crisis or, in some cases, prior to a crisis in a child's life. In that sense it is designed both as a preventive and a treatment programme. All applications for service are made through the local office of the Department of Human Resources.
An initial survey of the people being served in this programme indicates that the programme is focusing primarily on those young people who are defined as being problems, from 10 to 16 years of age. The most significant area of referral to the programme is from teachers. The survey data indicates that of the children in the programme in the fall of 1974 who were behind academically for age and ability at the time of referral to the programme, or were labeled as behavioural problems, a significant number showed academic improvement at the end of the contract period. Departmental expenditures for this programme in 1974 were $4.5 million.
Day care. It has been said that the ultimate form of treatment is prevention and that if prevention is to be effective, it must be made available very early in the lives of children. In day care services in the province there are now facilities for 22,000 children. There are 260 group day care centres operating and another 25 are planned. There are 28 centres catering to children under the age of three years. Apart from the enriched type of care that the children receive, some very young children are being identified as potential problem children and are being helped earlier.
As of December 1, 1974, nearly 13,000 children in British Columbia were receiving provincial day-care subsidies that were determined by the income level of the family. There are 38 special-need centres that provide special programmes for 850 physically or mentally handicapped children. These centres provide a chance for disabled children to socialize regularly with other children and offer a much-needed break for parents who are often exhausted by the constant supervision and 24-hour care that they must provide for their disabled children. Other handicapped children of the province can find places in regular group centres. Extra support is available in the form of grants for equipment or therapists. Department expenditures for day care in 1974 were over $10 million.
I want to talk about the integration of service in Vancouver. For the past year an integration process has been proceeding in Vancouver, involving what was formerly the Vancouver Children's Aid Society, the Catholic Family and Children's Service and the Vancouver City Welfare and Rehabilitation Department. In respect to children's services, staffs have been merged with the social assistance and rehabilitation staffs in 12 local offices. All special services operated by the children's agencies have been merged, and the central administration has been reduced by 40 per cent, making more staff available to work directly with families and children at no
[ Page 1441 ]
extra cost. A detailed reassignment of staff into teams has been completed, and the system began to operate on March 18, 1975, as an integrated, local, community-based system.
In respect to children, because of the reassignment of staff less children are actually being taken into care. But in some areas — for example, the Vancouver South area — there has been a doubling in the amount of family work, family counseling. One of the other advantages of the integration process has been the reduction in the central approach and making more services available in the local areas through the 12 local offices. Social services were integrated in 1973 in the Victoria area, Kelowna, Penticton, Kamloops and Chilliwack.
One other function of the family and children's service of the Vancouver Resources Board has been its programme with transient youth. In the summer and fall of 1974, transient repatriation operated out of the youth section of the Vancouver Resources Board. Very few people were repatriated. In October, 1974, a specific policy change was made, in that children from other provinces would be repatriated. A short-term 48-hour holding unit was approved by myself at the request of chief Con Winterton of the City of Vancouver in order that children could be repatriated.
In 1973 there were 1,199 transient youths seen by the youth section and 288 were repatriated. In 1974 there were 782 youths seen and 416 were repatriated. This policy must be considered preventive in that large numbers of young people were removed from high-risk involvement with drugs, prostitution, theft and other criminal activity.
Community programmes. In 1974 the department funded 291 community projects offering services to children, families, senior citizens and other people with exceptional problems. Grants from the department to community projects offering services expressly for children and families totaled $365,000 in 1974. The list of grants made to the 20 organizations throughout the province are listed in the appendix to this and it is being made available to all of the Members.
I want to say that the number of children in care of the superintendent of child welfare at the year end 1974 was 9,800. This is a reduction of approximately 450 from the March 31, 1972, figure of 10,274. During the same period the number of children in British Columbia between birth and 19 years of age was increased by approximately 15,000 There are now nearly one million children in British Columbia.
I have outlined about a range of services to children developed by this department since September, 1972.
Prior to September, 1972, there was no special-services-to-children programme. During the past year, in excess of 1,600 children have received service throughout the province.
Prior to September, 1972, there were no therapeutic foster homes in the province. Today 55 children are cared for and receive specialized treatment in 5 I therapeutic foster homes.
Prior to September, 1972, there were 2,300 children receiving day-care services in the province. Today 22,000 children are in day care and 13,000 of these children are under the income-tested subsidy programme.
Prior to September, 1972, them were 57 group homes in the province. That figure has been increased by 100 per cent and today we have 114 group homes.
I have listed in this report new programmes that have developed in order to meet the needs of children. As we have said, we still have a long way to go. We do have to come to grips with the providing of resources for a small number of so-called hard-core young people, and there is no question that anyone should be allowed to ignore the laws of the land or the rights of people.
In closing, let me say this. In all my years of travel — and I have lived in many cities and three different countries around the world — I have never witnessed such an outcry of bitterness against young people as we have seen in this province during the past few months. We are a prosperous people, yet some have to decide to isolate a small group and vent a stream of venom on them. Let me say that all of these children are the children of the communities. They do not belong to the government; they belong to you and to the citizens of this province. In the past we have moved large numbers of children from their homes, from their communities, so that it has been virtually impossible for them ever to return to their communities and to their families.
We are committed not to do these things which have failed in the past. We have to be innovative and courageous in our planning for children. It must be remembered that problems of young children did not suddenly happen after September, 1972. These problems are the living legacy of the indifference and the ineptness of the Social Credit government that put people — its very old and its very young — second to blacktop and resource giveaway. The New Democratic Party committed itself to changing this and we have done so.
MR. R.H. McCLELLAND (Langley): Mr. Chairman, thanks to the Minister's prepared statement, which all of us could have read, we now have only three hours in which to discuss this most important portfolio worth $516 million — $172 million an hour is what that Minister gets. The opposition again is not given the opportunity to discuss fully the estimates of a most important department because of the closure rules which are now in effect in this House.
[ Page 1442 ]
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. Would the Hon. Member speak to the vote, please?
MR. McCLELLAND: Yes, Mr. Chairman. In response to some of the statements made by the Minister in his prepared, written statement, I can't agree with the Minister when he says that the programmes with reference to young people, particularly young offenders who can be classified as hard core, can be considered to be working. I have seen no evidence of any programmes in this province to deal with those kinds of young people.
Admittedly, they are a very small percentage of the problem. Nevertheless, they are an important percentage of the problem and one which is causing not bitterness and venom but extreme concern in the communities in which these young people are living. Mayors, aldermen, police, judges and parents in virtually every community of British Columbia have expressed their concern.
Not long ago a group of very concerned individuals, both elected and non-elected, from the Minister's own department and other related departments in the lower mainland, met in Port Coquitlam to talk about this very problem. Over and over again, the theme was the same: we must have some kind of facilities with which to deal with those young people who are causing this concern in the community. Never once — and I've read all the minutes from those meetings and certainly all of the reports given by the various people involved — was there any venom expressed. It was solid concern by solid citizens in the community who wanted to see something done for young people who are in serious need of help. Not venom. That's an irresponsible statement, to say to the people who are charged with keeping law and order in their communities and charged by the people who elected them with keeping the peace in their communities that they are full of venom because they wish the Minister to do something about what is a small but very hard-to-handle group of young people.
I think the Minister has copped out in this regard. I think it's a serious problem which is disturbing more and more of the people of our province today. The Minister is aware, I am sure, of the survey which was done in Surrey with regard to juvenile delinquency, and he knows that that survey showed that these youngsters who were repeated offenders were not young people from broken homes or foster homes; they were people from good homes who needed some kind of help because they somehow got on the wrong path. The figures from that study are very alarming. It showed — and I've said this before but I think it bears repeating — that in 1974 there were 1,325 offences committed by young people under 16 years of age, compared to only 1,935 by all adults in that same year. I would suggest that those kinds of figures are going to point to some very serious societal problems in the future if nothing is done to look after those kinds of young offenders.
Unfortunately, nothing does seem to be being done. I appreciate all of the efforts the department is putting into the rehabilitation of young people in their communities. I think that's admirable and commendable, but those efforts are going to fail in the long run if the government doesn't recognize and give more than just a simple little paragraph in that report to the real problem of that hard-core element of juvenile offenders. Without some action to deal with those people, all of the other efforts in all of the other areas could be open to failure.
More and more people are asking you to agree with this principle that they must be dealt with in some kind of structured environment, whether it's in their own community or not. But they can't be sent and forced back into the same community which spawned their problems. They've shown already that they can't deal with their community; they can't deal with their family surroundings, perhaps; they can't deal with the society in which they have been living. We can't send them right back into that community. Yet that's what we're doing. We see evidence day after day after day of young people who are picked up — some of them three times in the same day — for committing offences, and yet just let go back into the same community that they've proved they can't handle. There's got to be something better than that, and it must be structured because these young people don't have the emotional makeup to deal with completely unstructured society within their own community or anywhere else.
I was given a lot of criticism in this House a while ago for asking a question of the Minister of Human Resources about the possibility of a youngster or youngsters being kept in the Empress Hotel because there was no place else to keep them. The Minister never answered my question; he just said there was no evidence in some out-of-date public accounts. Regardless of whether or not there were youngsters kept in the Empress Hotel, I have no doubt that there have been youngsters kept in other facilities similar — perhaps motel facilities — because there hasn't been anywhere else to keep those youngsters. There's been no place to put them, and no opportunity for those youngsters to get the kind of treatment they need. That's the problem. As I mentioned before, the meeting of mayors and people involved in community services in Port Coquitlam — from all over the lower mainland — made it very clear that that was the one concern among all of them: some kind of facilities with which to deal with these people.
If I can quote from a couple of articles, an editorial in The Province says: "Whether Mr. Levi likes it or not, juvenile delinquency is a real problem. His idea of tackling the problem seems to deny that it
[ Page 1443 ]
Judge David Hart, who presides over the juvenile courts in Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, says that he laments the government's closure of juvenile correctional institutions. He agrees with the closure, but he says they were never replaced with anything and it leaves in limbo the hard-core juvenile delinquents who need secure confinement with provision for psychiatric assessment and treatment and full provision. Even the young people themselves, in many instances, agree that there needs to be some kind of structured environment where this hard-core group can be sent.
In an interview with 26 inmates of the Vancouver juvenile detention home, a third of them said that the correctional system is too slack and too easy. Those are the young people themselves.
Dr. Sue Stephenson of the University of B.C., a child-psychiatry professor there, says: "I have definitely concluded that there is a need for some kind of closed institution for the really hard-to-manage kids."
Mr. Chairman, I could repeat this same comment from literally dozens and dozens of people in the community who aren't spewing venom but are concerned about a serious problem which exists within the community. So don't give us that nonsense about venom from a group of people who are interested in trying to help a group of youngsters who need help.
The point is that there aren't any real facilities to deal with the minority of young people who are considered to be hard-core delinquents, and that means we are not living up to our responsibilities to these young people.
I'd like to move on to a report that the Minister tabled with this House last night — the annual report for 1974 of the B.C. Alcohol and Drug Commission. The B.C. Alcohol and Drug Commission was formed two years ago this month. It took the commission a full year just to identify some problems that were in the community — problems that should have been clear and identified in studies and reports, task forces, committees and commissions over many, many years in British Columbia. But the first year was spent in collecting salaries and identifying a list of the problems.
Once again, the top priority of those problems that were identified a year ago was the development of preventive programmes for young people. I'd suggest that the Alcohol and Drug Commission has only proved again that it's a failure. It hasn't done anything in the province really worthwhile except give us another glossy report which doesn't begin to recognize the problem and certainly doesn't being to deal with the issues which are glaringly obvious in British Columbia, particularly in connection with the abuse of both hard and soft drugs.
Instead, after two years of collecting salaries and doing nothing, the operative statement in this report would seem to be that our initial stance, and that which we are continuing to espouse, is one of cautious but careful planning. In other words, let's not do anything and nobody will rock the boat, we'll continue to collect our salaries, and nothing will get done in this province.
Because the B.C. Alcohol and Drug Commission doesn't seem to have taken any real recognition of the most serious heroin problem in Canada, I can only conclude that the commission is still soft on drugs, and that it should be abolished as quickly as possible and the whole problem turned over to the Attorney-General's department, because the Minister of Human Resources has failed in his obligation. I called for the abolition of this commission a year ago and I have no hesitation calling for the abolition again.
The only real approach to deal — and this is unfortunate — with the heroin problem in British Columbia is happening through the Co-ordinated Law Enforcement Unit which is at least attempting to do something through law enforcement to restrict the supply of heroin to addicts in British Columbia. But there is no follow-up by any other department of government, and certainly none by the B.C., Alcohol and Drug Commission. If anything is happening to restrict drug abuse in this province, it's sure through no fault of the drug commission.
Mr. Chairman, one of the other parts of the report that I find most frightening is the plan to move responsibility for narcotics and alcoholism programmes to the community resource boards. I think this is the most frightening proposal we've ever heard. I understand that according to the report, negotiations are underway right now in Prince George, Kamloops, Trail, Coquitlam and Victoria for moving the existing narcotics addiction foundation and alcoholism foundation grants operation under the resources boards or Health department auspices.
The Health department we could buy, I think, but if we're going to put the responsibility for looking after the needs of heroin addicts and alcoholics under a group of people who are generally politically oriented, and are cells of the government in many cases, then we're going to fail.
AN HON. MEMBER: In Langley?
MR. McCLELLAND: Langley?
Mr. Chairman, the community resources boards don't have the expertise and certainly don't have the emotional or physical responses within them to deal with this kind of question.
If we establish drug clinics through the resources boards, we might as well throw up our hands and say: To hell with all the attempts to clean up the heroin
[ Page 1444 ]
problem in this province! We might as well accept forever that Vancouver and the lower mainland will always be known as the drug capital of Canada.
I would like to ask the Minister if it is true that five of these units are going to be set up in the lower mainland area. Will methadone be distributed in all of the units? Will methadone be distributed by a central agency — the one on Broadway or somewhere like that? Will any of the units be non-methadone units? Are there any plans by the Minister to experiment in British Columbia with a heroin-maintenance unit anywhere in the province? I'm asking you if there are any plans like this.
AN HON. MEMBER: Are you in favour of it?
MR. McCLELLAND: No, I'm not in favour of it, Mr. Chairman.
Is it true that the City of Kamloops has refused to allow the establishment of a drug clinic there?
Mr. Chairman, I am personally convinced that the Province of British Columbia is going the wrong way absolutely. The Minister and other people connected with his department have said that previous programmes haven't worked. Well, they haven't tried them. In 20 or 30 or 40 years of studies and talks and negotiations, nobody has really tried any programmes. Certainly we have had programmes tabled in this House. One, the Matheson report commissioned by the Attorney-General's department not very long ago, was just shelved, presumably on the insistence of the Minister of Human Resources. We haven't tried any of these approaches, so we can't say in all honesty whether they have worked or not. Similar programmes have been tried in other parts of the world and have worked, but not here. We pass the buck.
I am not saying that it is only the province. The federal government bears a lot of the blame for this — in fact, perhaps the majority of the blame because they refuse to recognize that there is a problem in British Columbia, for one thing.
Unless we start to crack down — I still say that we need to try a hard-line approach, and I make no apologies for that — I think we will always have the kind of heroin addiction problem that faces British Columbia today.
The social workers: non-approach hasn't worked in the past and it isn't going to work in the future. In fact, I would say that many of the social workers involved in these programmes are contributing to the problem rather than helping.
We have to recognize, for one thing, that we must look after the chemical and legal effects of the drug. It is not good enough just to approach it only from the sociological point of view.
I would like to move on to some more general comments about the Minister's department. I would say that this Minister has been most irresponsible in the accountability of his department and in the expenditures of British Columbians' money. I suggest that he has shown that he hasn't been competent to handle the expenditures of the taxpayers' money. The estimates in that department, Mr. Chairman, are up to $516 million this year, compared to estimates of only some $304 million for the 1974-75 fiscal year. That is a colossal jump: $250 million. We know that it includes, of course, the famous $103 million or $104 million overrun to which the Minister has admitted. The Minister has shown that he has no regard for restraint and certainly no regard for accountability, at least in the past.
It isn't good enough, as some of the Members and the Minister have said, to point to the places the money has been spent. I have no quarrel that the money was spent in places of need in most instances, although I suggest that because of the increase of bureaucracy in not only the Minister's department but in every other department of government, a lot of that money was wasted in turning the wheels of government without ever getting to the social services. A lot of that $516 million is just going to go to keep the government bureaucracy grinding along rather than going to the people who are really in need in this province and want the services of this government.
It is not good enough, nevertheless, just to say: "Well, we spent the money on good programmes." If the cupboard is bare, Mr. Chairman, there won't be any programmes. Once the money is gone, you might as well forget about servicing the needs of British Columbians.
Unless the Minister starts to understand the need for budgeting, what, after all, is the need of going through all these estimates, of going to the problem of delivering estimates to the Treasury Board unless you really mean that you want to budget with available money that you have, given the kind of economy that exists at the time? Unless you start to understand the need for budgeting, the cupboard will be bare. Where are we if we don't have any money? If the money goes, so do the services.
What happens this year if we get another $ 100 million overrun? We're talking then not of $516 million but of $616 million, a 100 per cent jump from the estimates of one year ago. Mr. Chairman, that's not good enough.
The Minister has now said, presumably because of the criticism he's been given because of his lack of accountability, that he will cut back. In an article in The Province on Saturday, March 22, 1975, the Minister is quoted as saying that no new major programmes will be started in his department in the 1975-76 fiscal year, and that evaluation is going on to determine if cutbacks in existing services and programmes are necessary. Cutbacks! If there aren't
[ Page 1445 ]
going to be any major programmes started and if there is the possibility of cutbacks coming in existing programmes, why the big increase in the budget? What's that for?
Nevertheless, that comment from the Minister that there will be no new programmes started and that existing programmes could be cut back after evaluation is a clear admission by the Minister that what I said about bare cupboards is happening right now. The Minister and Treasury Board must obviously be worried that the money is dwindling and that there may not be the money available to make the services available. The waste and irresponsibility are starting to catch up with the Minister.
HON. MR. LEVI: Identify the waste.
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Chairman, I'd suggest that the waste is rampant all the way through his department. He has admitted himself that loose....
MR. McCLELLAND: Well, there's a waste right there — the B.C. Alcohol and Drug Commission, which has done nothing in two years. It's a total waste of public funds, Mr. Chairman.
The Minister himself has admitted that loose policies were the cause of at least part of the $100 million overrun. If that isn't a waste, I don't know what it is. Waste is all over. All you have to do is just look anywhere in this government and you'll find waste in every department. There's never been the kind of rampant spending spree on behalf of the Ministers of this government in the history of this country. At the same time, the Premier is in Ottawa preaching restraint to the Prime Minister of Canada. My God! What hypocrisy!
So the Minister admits that loose policies were the cause of much of this $100 million overrun.
The people who need the services are the people who suffer — the people who need the services but can't get them because of the poor stewardship of their tax money. So how is the Minister tightening up? Well, he's running ads in the papers for a programme manager:
"Salary: $27,000 to $31,000. An important new position available in the Department of Human Resources for a qualified person to advise the Minister and Deputy Minister on all matters relating to the financial status of the department, to develop and maintain adequate accounting and related systems, to supervise the preparation, analysis and presentation of financial and statistical reports, to co-ordinate the preparation of the department's annual estimates and special financial investigations and other related duties."
It requires a high school graduate, Mr. Chairman, with sound knowledge of business practices.
Have you lost confidence in the people in the people in your own department? Is that why you have to advertise for a programme manager? Have you lost confidence in the Finance department of this government, which I assumed is supposed to oversee the spending priorities of all departments, including yours? Is it now the policy of this government to establish a similar position in every department? Are we going to pile 18 programme managers on top of all the other policy consultants and information officers and flacks of all kinds, or just those departments which are riddled with loose policies?
It's a typical socialist solution, Mr. Chairman, to bad management and incompetence: when in trouble, reach out and cook up another bureaucrat. That's the solution this government has to bad management and incompetence.
The government has copped out in so many areas and no less in the Human Resources department. The icing is on the cake, though, proving both incompetence and a lack of ethics.
Concerning the Minister's actions when he joined the picket line at a Vancouver radio station last week in direct defiance of a court order...
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!
MR. McCLELLAND: ...direct defiance of the law, deliberately flaunting his disregard for the laws of this land.
AN HON. MEMBER: Not true.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. The Hon. Member well knows that if the Hon. Member wishes to make any charges against the Minister it should be done by a substantive motion rather than in estimates. Would the Hon. Member confine his remarks to the vote and administrative responsibility?
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Chairman, again incompetence on the part of the Minister following the discovery and disclosure in this House that the Minister had accepted a $200 gift following the 1972 election, again breaking the law of the land....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I would ask the Hon. Member to withdraw any imputation of wrongdoing. The Hon. Member well knows that the proper procedure is to put a substantive motion on the order paper if he wishes to make a charge. Would the Hon. Member withdraw the imputation against the Minister?
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Chairman, the document is tabled in this House.
[ Page 1446 ]
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. The Chair is requesting that the Hon. Member obey the rules of the House.
MR. McCLELLAND: Yes, Mr. Chairman, the documents were filed in this House. They have never been denied by the Minister.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I am asking the Hon. Member to withdraw any imputation of wrongdoing against the Minister at this time. Would the Hon. Member do this, please?
MR. McCLELLAND: I'll withdraw, Mr. Chairman. But I must repeat that this Minister has lost the confidence and respect of every thinking British Columbian.
I must say again that it might be a good idea if this Minister would save his old friend and former colleague, the Premier of this province, the embarrassment of having to remove him from office by announcing that he will step down from his cabinet position before it costs the people of B.C. another $100 million.
HON. A.B. MACDONALD (Attorney-General): Mr. Chairman, let me say this about the Minister: nobody has ever impugned his honesty, and I know the word "gift" was withdrawn in connection with that matter. It was an election contribution. The difference between an election contribution, which every Member in this House understands, and a gift to the person which he uses personally is a wide difference. It seems to me that there is no doubt in the minds of the people of British Columbia that the honesty and integrity of this Minister is paramount and unquestioned. I regret that that kind of imputation should be made against him. It won't be believed by the people; it should not be believed by the people.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Will the Hon. the Attorney-General confine his remarks to the vote, please?
HON. MR. MACDONALD: Okay. No charge was ever laid. So, again, I regret the remarks.
In connection with the vote, this Minister has tackled the problems of young people in this Province of British Columbia with wholehearted dedication, with heart and intelligence and sympathy. He freely admits there are problems left over that we have not been able to solve as yet. We can't do everything in two years. He has freely admitted that the problem of the few youngsters.... Fortunately, it's few — in this province there might be 100 or 150 who are, as he used the word — and I don't like to use the word — hard-core delinquents. I don't like to use that kind of language about children, but there are problem kids who commit crimes and they're on the run. They are very badly disturbed children. We recognize that that's the kind of problem. It's something that's before government — we have the Berger report.
We know we haven't accomplished everything, but the amount that this Minister has accomplished for children in this province is epoch-making and it's certainly a first in Canada. I am sure that when this Minister goes to the conferences of other Human Resource Ministers across Canada, as he very often does, that among that group the eyes of respect are turned on the little Minister from British Columbia.
MR. McCLELLAND: On a point of order, Mr. Chairman. I would like to ask the Attorney-General whether he is telling this House that it's perfectly acceptable to accept campaign donations for your own personal account.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. No point of order.
HON. MR. MACDONALD: As a matter of fact it is perfectly legal under the election Act.
MR. McCLELLAND: It is, eh?
HON. MR. MACDONALD: Yes. I don't say that's the best way. If it wasn't in a situation between two campaigns or something, I would say it was not in order for you to do it. But it's not illegal.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MR. McCLELLAND: If that's a legal opinion, I would hate to have you for my lawyer.
HON. MR. MACDONALD: That's okay. I would hate to have you for my client. (Laughter.)
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): No wonder we have so much hate in this province, so much problem in this province. There is nothing but hate coming from the Attorney-General.
My point of order, Mr. Chairman, is: are we to assume from the statement of the Attorney-General — and I won't say the honourable Attorney-General — that it is common practice among NDP candidates to put campaign money...
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MRS. JORDAN: ...in their personal bank accounts?
[ Page 1447 ]
HON. MR. MACDONALD: I didn't say that.
MR. CHAIRMAN: There is no point of order. Would the Hon. Member be seated, please?
MRS. JORDAN: How many other NDP campaign funds have gone into personal bank accounts?
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order!
HON. MR. LEVI: I would like to deal with some of the questions raised by the Member for Langley (Mr. McClelland), particularly in relation to his comments about alcohol and drugs. If I could be assured by the Member — and of course he doesn't have to do it — that he had taken the trouble, which I am reasonably sure he hasn't, to meet with the Alcohol and Drug Commission to discuss with them the programmes that they are doing, and to go to Vancouver to the detoxification centre and to go to Victoria to the detoxification centre, and to visit the methadone clinics....
Some Members do — come and see me and tell me about the kinds of things you think we should be doing. But you haven't done that. Really, what you have done is a repeat of what you did last year.
MR. McCLELLAND: The problem is just the same.
HON. MR. LEVI: Oh, yes, we know the problem is the same, and you come from a party that decided not to look at the problem at all. We did. Right at the beginning we decided to look at it. Right at the beginning. But if you feel that there are some magic solutions to this, then you must make them available to us because we are not aware of any magic solution.
I think you did an extreme disservice to all of the people who work in this field — not just the commission, but the people who work in the field. Somehow you have got it in your mind that a social worker is one kind of an individual and the rest of the world is something entirely different.
I spent 17 years in the corrections field dealing on a day-to-day basis with this problem, and I can assure you, Mr. Member, that there are no overnight solutions.
Take a look at the State of New York. In a period of eight years they spent $1 billion doing exactly the same things they had done for years, and then they rejected everything.
What the commission has attempted to do, first of all, is to get the mess — the mess that your people left in terms of the funding of programmes — in order. They have trained, and by June they will have completed training, all of the people who are presently working in all of the projects that are listed and described at the back of this book. That happens to be pretty important work in this field, It is first of all to build a core of staff that know what they are doing. It is not a process where you just give money out to anybody who says they want to do good. They have to be trained.
I regret that you have not taken the trouble to go talk to the Alcohol and Drug Commission. If you have some solutions, then tell us about them. Tell us about your solutions. In this book they have described in the report the solutions that they are attempting. They are low profile. You cannot wave a magic wand out there and raise expectations with people and expect that something is going to happen overnight. Certainly the problem is being tackled from both ends, through what CLEU is doing and through what the Alcohol and Drug Commission is doing.
Did you notice in the report the kind of trouble they are having in trying to develop facilities in places like Victoria and Vancouver? We want to get into the community. We can't even get the zoning in order to get the facilities built. If we do not solve this problem in the community by involving the community, we simply are not going to solve it, unless you have some vision in your mind of locking up 10,000 to 15,000 drug addicts. If that is what you have got in mind, that's where all the budget will go and nowhere else.
Now, on another subject, you read out an advertisement; I can't remember the title of it.
MR. McCLELLAND: Programme manager.
HON. MR. LEVI: Programme manager, yes. Let me tell you about the programme manager. That, apparently, is the new name for what was a departmental comptroller. That's what it is, a departmental comptroller.
In the organization under the previous government this department did not have a departmental comptroller. It had a departmental comptroller who was responsible for five or six departments. We came to the conclusion that as the budget got larger and there was more action, we had to have our own. That's exactly what that is, the ad that you read: a departmental comptroller to watch the expenses and the budget of the department that will spend this year $516 million. But that you could have asked. You could have come to see me; I could have told you directly what it was. But somehow you have worked in something else there.
HON. MR. LEVI: Oh, estimates — but you haven't discussed any estimates. You pick up a report, you scan through it, and that's the way you do it.
I was the critic on the other side of the House....
[ Page 1448 ]
HON. MR. LEVI: That's when we got it from the printers. You got it as soon as we got it from the printers.
But the thing is, you can do your work. I used to do the same work that you are supposed to be doing. I didn't read from editorials in The Province and the Sun. You've got to get into the library and dig out some information. You've got to talk to people, visit projects, find out what they are doing. You don't go anywhere. You read papers and you quote from the Sun.
HON. MR. LEVI: Oh, and there's another expert sitting there. She can tell you all about social services. You didn't last very long as a critic. What did you have — one session at it? Then they moved you.
You have to do your work in this business. I was over there and did it. If you are that interested in it, do it. It's available.
I checked to see whether you had asked around the department for information. You haven't sought any assistance from the department. We've got staff all over the place prepared to sit down and tell you exactly what is going on, but you haven't asked that. That's what I used to do, but you haven't done that. You read from papers and you read from The Vancouver Sun.
AN HON. MEMBER: What have you got against The Vancouver Sun?
HON. MR. LEVI: Let's talk for a minute about young people.
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): What an arrogant, conceited...!
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I would ask the Hon. Member for North Okanagan (Mrs. Jordan) to withdraw those very unparliamentary terms.
MRS. JORDAN: Which one — that he is arrogant or conceited?
HON. MR. LEVI: Well, I don't mind the second.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. Both terms.
The words clearly are offensive to another Hon. Member, and I would ask the Hon. Member to withdraw the terms.
HON. MR. LEVI: Well, the second one. I don't mind being conceited, but I'm not arrogant.
MRS. JORDAN: For the moment I'll withdraw.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Will the Hon. Member proceed?
MR. G.F. GIBSON: (North Vancouver-Capilano): Mr. Chairman, under the new arrangements we have in this House, opposition Members are forced into the very cruel dilemma in each department of very ruthlessly selecting out the kind of topics that they can talk about out of an entire portfolio.
The one that I'm going to talk about under the Minister's estimates today is the topic of Indian affairs. I'm going to be as brief as I can and try not to use up the allotted 30 minutes in the hopes that there might be some opportunity for brief follow-up questions after that, if the Minister sees fit to reply.
The whole question of Indian affairs in the province in 1975, I think it's fair to say, is in a great turmoil. There are very many varied and important matters which are before the government and before the Indian people. I have here a commentary by the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs on the so-called Kelly report, and they go through matters ranging from land claims and cut-off lands, through hunting, trapping and fishing, economic development, the activities of the Departments of Agriculture and the Attorney-General, the question of the applicability of sales tax to Indians in British Columbia, the applicability of the land tax to non-Indian interests in any reserve lease holds, the question of mineral royalties on Indian land minerals, the question of tuition fees and curriculum content in the educational system, language instruction, municipal affairs, Department of Human Resources, Indian housing, insurance, highways and health services. I think this partial list indicates the very wide range of concern that the Indian people have with this government.
But there are two basics I would suggest to the Minister — two basic facts that must be borne in mind whenever we debate this Minister's responsibility for Indian affairs. Those facts are there:
First of all, there exists, and has existed for many years, a basic and fundamental feeling of grievance, a feeling which has been growing in recent years. I think the Minister would acknowledge that.
The second thing is that the people of Canada, largely because it has been largely a federal matter, have acknowledged a sense of responsibility with respect to the Indian people of this country — currently in terms of hundreds of millions of dollars per year largely distributed in the form of handouts of one kind and another. Increasingly, the Indian people are turning to provincial governments for redress of some of their grievances. Increasingly they and the public are becoming impatient of jurisdictional questions when it comes to fundamental human equity. Now in the context of
[ Page 1449 ]
today there are some differences over what has been happening for the last century, since the time of Confederation.
The Indian people, certainly in British Columbia, have been going through a re-awakening process, particularly over the last decade. The feeling of not being ready to stand up for their rights, the feeling of being beaten into the ground that they obtained for so long is being replaced by a feeling of dignity and pride in the Indian culture and a readiness to demand their rights — not simply to request them as has been the case for so many years, but to demand them.
The other side of it, on the part of the provincial government, has been some extraordinarily fast footwork and sidestepping of responsibility that the Indian people have the right to expect this government to assume, on the basis of the philosophy of this government, its fundamental concern with people on the basis of campaign promises and NDP platforms over the years which have expressed a sympathy to the Indian people, and which, now that that government is in power, are not being carried out.
I mentioned the sense of grievance and I mentioned the Kelly report. I want to quote...it's really a second-hand quotation; it's a newspaper quotation of the Kelly report, but it relates to that sense of grievance:
"If there is no effort by the provincial government to meet this long-standing, pressing problem now, then there will be very little basis for the native Indians of B.C. to believe that this government represents fair, equitable administration of laws and justice.
"The lack of settlement of the Indian land question has been the basis of suspicion of all Indians towards the attitude of various provincial governments since Confederation." I think that's a fair statement, Mr. Chairman.
"For this reason this recommendation should be given the highest priority. B.C. controls 95 per cent of all land in B.C.," — the provincial government does — "and any land settlement must involve the provincial government."
There's another articulation of the sense of grievance. So what's going on? Let's look at just some of the headlines. I won't read all the clippings because the Minister may not like newspaper clippings, according to what he said earlier on today.
"Levi Ignores the Reality." This relates to the Nishga case and the lack of readiness of the provincial government to become involved in that negotiation.
"A Minister Plays Mule. 'Mule-ish' is the word for Human Resources Minister Norman Levi's behaviour over the Indian land claims question."
Another one: "Mr. Levi's Blind Eye."
Here's another one relating to the Premier:
"Barrett Concerned Over Indian Land Revenue." I would have preferred to see the headline saying: "Barrett Concerned Over Indian Rights."
Another one: "Levi Passes the Buck on Indian Land Claims." That is the feeling that you get when you meet with Indian people in this province, like the Indian Cut-off Land Action Committee, a feeling frustration and lack of action by the government, a lack of deliverance on their promises.
The two fundamental grievances out of that long list that I read to the committee relate to the cut-off lands and the B.C. land question. The second is by far the larger and more complex. The first, while not lacking in complexity, is capable of relatively simple solution relatively quickly in my belief. I make that representation to the Minister, I'll give a very brief history of the cut-off lands. In 1912, the federal and provincial governments entered in an agreement called the McKenna-McBride agreement, which provided for the establishment of a commission to examine the adequacy or sufficiency of Indian reserves as related to the size of the Indian bands living thereon. The commission had the power to recommend additions or confirmations or deletions, but just to recommend. In particular, the commission did not have the power to act without the consent of the Indians. No Indians were consulted in setting up the royal commission that flowed from the McKenna-McBride agreement, but the province was very much involved. The province appointed two out of the five commissioners, two were appointed by the federal government, and the fifth, the chairman, was chosen jointly. That gentleman was, in fact, the ex-chief justice of Saskatchewan of that day. There were no Indians on the commission.
From 1913 to 1916 that royal commission travelled the province hearing evidence from chiefs and band spokesmen, Indian agents, white business groups and others, and on their recommendations cut-offs were made from 35 reserves totaling about 36,000 acres. When the legislation finally came out of the meat grinder of approval by the two governments, the number of bands that were affected by cut-off reserves were 23, some of the bands having more than one reserve affected. I have a list of all of those cut-offs and the acreages if any Hon. Members are interested.
Through this history, Mr. Chairman, You will see that there is no question as to the involvement of the provincial government in the history of this affair. It was party to the agreement: it appointed two of the commissioners; it passed an order-in-council which approved the McKenna-McBride commission report.
We can examine how this process worked in a particular case. Because I am most familiar with it, I have chosen the case of the Capilano reserve No. 5 in my riding. The commission came around to hold hearings, and the Indians had a right to be reasonably
[ Page 1450 ]
relaxed about the hearings because part of the terms of reference of the commission was section 2(a) of the McKenna-McBride agreement, which provided that the commission could only reduce the size of the reserve with the consent of the Indians, in very specific language.
On June 17, 1913, the commission met the Capilano band members at the Mission reserve in North Vancouver, which is not the No. 5 reserve but another one of the band's. Here is part of the verbatim transcript of the chairman speaking of the lands: "They could not be sold, except with the consent of the Indians. Of course, by that I mean the Indians interested in the reserve."
On June 21, 1913, there was another meeting. The chairman said the following:
"When the work of this commission is over and the land becomes vested in the Dominion government, any sales which take place, they will get the whole of it. The British Columbia government will have no interest in the lands whatever."
That is an interesting statement, Mr. Chairman, because when the lands were finally cut off, the land went to the provincial government and the Indians did not have entire interest in it. Rather, when those lands were sold or leased, they only had a one-half interest in the proceeds.
Quoting the commissioner again in speaking of land which might be cut off:
"But that land can only be cut off with the consent of the Indians interested. For instance, if we should recommend that a portion of this reserve should be cut off, it could not be done unless you Indians here consent to it being done."
In 1916, Mr. Chairman, three years later, the commission issued a report recommending that 132 acres of the Capilano reserve No. 5 be cut off. The commission gave no reason for their actions and did not refer to the fact that the band had not consented to this cut-off, as was provided in that agreement and as was the subject of so many assurances to the band members.
Later on, the Province of British Columbia, in 1919, passed the Indian Affairs Settlement Act, chapter 32 of the statutes of that year, empowering the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council to give effect to the report of the McKenna-McBride commission in whole or in part.
In 1920, the Dominion government passed the British Columbia Indian Land Settlement Act, empowering the Govern or-in-Council to give effect to the report of the commission in whole or in part. section 3 of that Act — and it's a shameful section — reads in part:
"The Governor-in-Council may order such reductions or cut-offs to be effected without surrenders of the same by the Indians, notwithstanding any provisions of the Indian Act to the contrary."
There is the whole disgraceful history in capsule form of the betrayal that happened to the Squamish Indian band with respect to Capilano reserve No. 5. I have here an indication, Mr. Chairman, of the very significant portion of that reserve, over a quarter of it, and some of the most valuable land — land today certainly worth from $10 million to $20 million — which was taken from the Squamish band.
Now with that history there was clearly a heavy provincial involvement and a heavy federal involvement. I suggest to the Minister that he can't hide behind the federal government in this case. I want to quote from the Minister of Indian Affairs of Canada, from The Vancouver Sun of January 10:
"Indian Affairs Minister Judd Buchanan called on the provincial government again Thursday to participate in Indian land-claim settlements."
A little later:
"...and Attorney-General Alex Macdonald told a TV interviewer Thursday night that the provincial government will continue to insist that Indian land claims are a federal responsibility."
That's the same Attorney-General, Mr. Chairman, who suggested to the Indian people that they take the provincial government to court — which is a fatuous suggestion. He offered the resources to take the provincial government to court. That has done nothing, Mr. Attorney-General, but to fatten the pockets of whoever was counsel in that case.
Here's a case of federal and provincial legislation, immoral legislation but presumably legal legislation. The way to solve that is by negotiation, not by lawsuits.
Continuing with respect to Mr. Buchanan and the newspaper report:
"The cut-off lands were the subject of discussions Buchanan held Thursday with representatives of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.
"'We indicated we were supportive of their position, that we believed there is an outstanding wrong there to be corrected, and we will do our utmost to assist the cause. As far as the actual lands in question are concerned, they are basically provincial Crown lands. It is not within our power to provide the return of the lands, but we will be involved in the process of negotiation. The federal government has made its readiness very clear and the provincial government has not responded as they should have done to date. '"
The Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, under date of March 14, has submitted to the Minister what they
[ Page 1451 ]
title "General Principles for Settlement of Cut-off Lands." I think, Mr. Chairman, that it is a reasonable initial negotiating position on the part of the bands concerned. I'll tell you the way I think it should be settled.
I think that lands currently held by the Crown provincial, which were cut off, should be returned; that's point No. 1. I think that lands now held by the Crown provincial in existing public use — such matters again coming back to my own reserve as the right-of-way for the British Columbia Railway, the right-of-way for the Lions Gate Bridge and a section used as parkland for West Vancouver — should remain in those public uses on the basis of negotiation with the band concerned for appropriate compensation. I believe that there should be compensation for existing private uses, including the large and difficult problem of Penticton, with several thousand acres involved, to be solved through either land or cash as compensation — preferably land. That's the first fundamental grievance, Mr. Chairman, the cut-off land.
The second I will deal with much more briefly, and that is the B.C. land question. I deal with it briefly not because it is less important but because it is more important. But we are a further distance away from seeing the proper settlement in that area. In British Columbia, as distinct from almost all of the rest of Canada, the Indian people never surrendered their lands to government through an execution of treaties.
The Indian people, therefore, claim that they still retain aboriginal title and that this must be resolved by some kind of compensation. Obviously this is an enormous question, but the first step that has to be taken is an agreement by the provincial government to become involved in the negotiations. It cannot proceed without that. Where settlements will involve land, the British Columbia government owns, as I quoted earlier, 95 per cent of the land in this province. It must be a party to those negotiations.
I would suggest to the Minister that a direction towards the solution lies in the agreement negotiated with the James Bay Indians by the Government of Quebec, to which agreement the federal government joined itself in the payment of a percentage — I think it was 50 per cent — of the cost of that settlement. I think that in British Columbia we should try for something more extensive than 50 per cent; I think we should ask the federal government to assume a much larger portion of the responsibility than that. But therein, Mr. Minister, lies the solution — in that direction. The essential first step is the agreement to negotiate.
In summary, Mr. Chairman, there is a longstanding sense of grievance here, a sense of grievance which poisons the relationship between the Indian people and the rest of the community — in particular the government. There is an acknowledged responsibility by the public. I say let us meet that responsibility not with the current system of handouts but in a way that satisfies Indian concern for dignity, equity and honour, by a provision of assets which will make them more independent, more able to look after their own needs and, at the same time, settle these ancient grievances.
The government must act now. The Minister in this House recently in response to questioning spoke about not recognizing ultimatums. He had in mind the so-called April 1 deadline which had been given to him by the cut-off land action committee for some kind of response and a guarantee of a meeting. But when you talk about ultimatums and deadlines, I submit to the Minister that it was a year ago in this House that he told this House that this was clearly a matter of great complexity and it had to be subject to full and detailed cabinet consideration. I agree, but I ask him: where is his sense of priorities if a year later it has not received that full and detailed cabinet consideration? Answers were promised; they haven't been given.
I ask the Minister to reply to these two simple questions: (1) Is he now prepared to set a date or period of time within which cabinet will consider and come to a conclusion on the provincial government's position on the issue of cut-off lands? (2) Is he now prepared to specifically recognize that, conditional on Ottawa's financial assistance to the province to so do, the provincial government is prepared to join in federal-provincial negotiations with the Indian people of British Columbia on the B.C. land question?
HON. MR. LEVI: Mr. Chairman, before I get to the two questions, I think it is important that we also speak to broaden the subject. Today I tabled in the House the report from the Burns Lake Native Development Corp. The Member mentioned handouts — I don't think he was alluding to that.
MR. GIBSON: No, I wasn't.
HON. MR. LEVI: We took the position when we first came in in relation to dealing with Indians that there were a number of very pressing needs that had to be met, in the same way that we were meeting the pressing needs of other people in the province. We made all of the programmes available to Indians that are available to all of the citizens of B.C. that previously had not been made available to Indians. We first of all looked at the economic and social development. The Indian people as a group have met with more cabinet Ministers and more times with the Premier.... It is my information from them that not once were they ever able to meet with that cabinet over there (when they were cabinet). They were completely disregarded.
[ Page 1452 ]
It's important, Mr. Member, to realize that the cut-off lands go back to 1912-1915. You gave an interesting history. Go a little bit further back. Why was there pressure for cut-off lands? Why was there pressure? The pressure was coming from the communities and saying: "The Indians have too much land and there aren't very many of them. Let's take some of the land away." The government of the day proceeded to do something that was completely illegal, because they didn't consult the Indians. Then when it was all over they passed an Act to make an illegal Act legal. The government of the day in British Columbia in 1923 went along with that action in relation to the cut-off lands.
One of the things we did in respect to the unalienated part of the cut-off lands was to say that those 18,000 acres that remain will not be alienated. That is a policy that the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. R.A. Williams) is pursuing. That's not happening.
But let's look at the complexity of this thing. It's as complex as your description of how the land claims question is complex. You know, we met with the cut-off lands committee: eight cabinet Ministers; the Premier was there. We had a long, frank discussion. One of the things I said was that when we came in we looked at the social and economic development factors. We also looked at the whole province. All right, you've raised the issue of the cut-off lands on the North Shore. And the value of that land? I don't know what it is. You mentioned perhaps $20 million. All right, there are 23 bands that have to be looked at.
A year ago we had a situation at the Osoyoos band where the band was concerned to bring the problem to the public, and they did some picketing on the roads. It was a perfectly orderly thing. But at the same time they served notice on a number of people who were living in Okanagan Falls. In fact, half of the town of Okanagan Falls is made up of the 71 acres that were cut off from that land. That land was turned over by the previous government to the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a Veterans Affairs housing project. A large number of those people were very perplexed when suddenly they found themselves in the middle of a dispute which they never knew about called the cut-off lands.
The question isn't simple. It isn't a simple thing to say: return it; let's straighten it out. After all, there are all sorts of people living on these lands. There are values.
MR. GIBSON: I didn't say that.
HON. MR. LEVI: Well, wait a minute. If not, we'll have to negotiate for alternate settlement.
MR. GIBSON: Right, compensation.
HON. MR. LEVI: That's a long, complicated process, as complicated as the long process which came about as a result of the lands question.
MR. GIBSON: You have to start it.
HON. MR. LEVI: Look, we've met with the committee. We have a committee which meets in terms of municipal taxation. Every Minister in this cabinet has met with groups of Indians. The Attorney-General (Hon. Mr. Macdonald) was recently at the conference in relation to the law and the corrections field in respect to Indians. We'll probably spend in this past fiscal year almost $30 million in grants and services to Indians.
Last week you saw — I was away at the time — the members of the Pacific north coast cannery. They came down; they talked to the press about the success of that development. No help from the federal government — not one nickel from the federal government. No assistance whatsoever in trying to get the Indians free, away from the welfare system.
HON. MR. LEVI: Pardon? Who's got out of proportion? Our other programmes? Yes, I'm sorry. Is the Minister of Housing (Hon. Mr. Nicolson) there?
The Indian Affairs department has a housing programme. Yes, they have a housing programme. For white people it's $49,000; for Indians it's $11,000.
You know, on this island, under the Indian Affairs department, the average number of people on reserves live in houses with 17 to 18 people. That's your Indian Affairs project. Don't tell me they have other programmes. They don't have any commitment to assist the Indians to become part of the economic and social development, part of the community.
AN HON. MEMBER: What about the cut-off lands?
HON. MR. LEVI: We're doing it; we're meeting those responsibilities. The Member the other night — he looks very good on TV — got to the land claims question. He said that it was very complicated, and the more you get into it the more complicated.... But on the cut-off lands, we had a meeting with them. There will be a report made to cabinet.
But in the meanwhile we're doing things like the Burns Lake Development Corp. Let me just tell you what commitment we have made on behalf of the taxpayers of British Columbia to the Indians in respect to that. They will receive this year, in relation to that programme, $0.5 million for the development fund, $450,000 for an equity participation and $296,000 for operating expenses. They will receive
[ Page 1453 ]
from my department a programme to the value of $166,000 in relation to social development. Tomorrow I'm going to join the Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. R.A. Williams) in Burns Lake for the graduation of the people who are going to be graduating from the various courses they've been taking. That's a joint effort, a partnership between the government and the Indian people, both the status and the non-status, which has already brought an enormous amount of pride.
You know, we simply cannot take a problem that is some 60 years old which involves every citizen in this province, every citizen in this province.... They have to have input into this kind of discussion as well. Everybody is involved in it. We have to get to articulating about this. We're meeting with them. We're constantly meeting with them. But there are no overnight decisions that can be made on this matter.
In the meanwhile.... Well, what has the federal government done? What has the federal government done? They have a land claims commissioner. He's been working for about six years. I caught him on TV last night.
MR. GIBSON: They're waiting for you.
HON. MR. LEVI: They're waiting for us?
MR. GIBSON: That's right.
HON. MR. LEVI: They've been in touch with us? The Minister comes into town, goes to the press in Vancouver — never mentions about coming to see us — and says: "It's a terrible moral question; it's a moral dilemma," What's the matter — can't he write? He hasn't written us that he wants to meet with us. He keeps sending messages through the B.C. Union of Indian Chiefs. All he has to do is to spend eight cents and write to us.
HON. MR. LEVI: Who, the new guy? He's never written to me, to my knowledge.
HON. MR. LEVI: To my knowledge, the new Minister has not been in touch.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
HON. MR. LEVI: Mr. Buchanan has never written to me on anything but the housing question.
AN HON. MEMBER: Nor his predecessor?
HON. MR. LEVI: His predecessor wrote in April of 1973. His predecessor, yes. Since then we have heard nothing.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. Would the Hon. Members wait until they are recognized to ask the question?
HON. MR. LEVI: I said in the House two or three weeks ago that the issue is something that will have to have the full attention of cabinet, but in the meanwhile the programmes that we are continuing to develop with Indians will carry on.
We have to understand also, as I said to the group with whom we met, that the complexities of this thing are not something you pick up in a few minutes. It will take a great deal of understanding before you can reach a decision — a great deal of understanding. After all, this is a legacy of two Liberal governments. All right.
We will continue to meet with them. There are other issues they want to discuss which we are meeting on and are trying to reach some form of resolution about. But let's not kid ourselves that it is not something that is simply between the Indian people and the government. It is between the Indian people, the government and the rest of the people in this province because they have an involvement in this question, too, and they have to know what it's all about.
MRS. JORDAN: On a point of order. Mr. Chairman, I wonder if you would clarify for the understanding of the House exactly what the procedure is now that we are operating under this selective closure. The House will recall that yesterday the Hon. Member for Langley (Mr. McClelland) posed questions to a Minister and was denied the right of following up on those answers. Today the Chairman has allowed the Hon. Member for North Vancouver-Capilano (Mr. Gibson) to have a latitude that was not allowed yesterday.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. On the point of order, the Chair is following the practice that I have always followed and will continue to do so. I asked the Hon. Member to be brief in his follow-up questions.
MRS. JORDAN: Further to the point of order....
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chair will follow the rules as the Chair sees fit, providing they are in order with the proper procedure. Will the Hon. Member proceed with his additional questions?
[ Page 1454 ]
MRS. JORDAN: I wonder if the Chairman would be willing to present to the House a firm position on this. Perhaps the Hon. Chairman wasn't here yesterday when this matter took place. I am sure he can appreciate that if we have different rulings under the same circumstance on every different hour or every different day, when we are labouring under these most difficult circumstances, it makes the position of the opposition and the running of the House even more difficult and more vague.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. The Chair will rule according to the rules of the House and will try to be fair to everyone.
MR. GIBSON: Mr. Chairman, I might just suggest to the Hon. Member for North Okanagan that I certainly agree with the point she is trying to make.
HON. D.G. COCKE (Minister of Health): Sit down.
MR. GIBSON: Indeed, I hope that we can establish the premise, Mr. Minister of Health, who has no reason to make that kind of interjection....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MR. GIBSON: Hon. Members have the right to a couple of brief follow-up questions. I think that's only reasonable....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Would the Hon. Member proceed with his brief follow-up questions?
MR. GIBSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I appreciate your ruling.
The Minister, in his defence of the government policy, mentioned many of the good things that the government is doing with respect to the Indian people in British Columbia, and I commend him for that. My questions did not relate to those things; they related to the fundamental grievances of land claims in British Columbia. They were two very simple questions, neither one of which the Minister answered.
The first one was: if the Minister doesn't like the deadline which has been suggested to him by the Indian people, would he set his own deadline? Would he give this House a date by which time cabinet will have dealt with this question and be prepared to make its position known?
Question No. 2: given a reasonable financial assurance from the federal government that the province will be compensated and assisted for any share which we must have in the settlement of the so-called B.C. land question, will the Minister agree in principle, under that condition, to join in those federal provincial negotiations? Those are the two questions, Mr. Chairman.
HON. MR. LEVI: On the second question, we have asked the federal government to tell us in writing what they are prepared to do and what responsibility they see they have in respect to the land claims question. We have said that on a number of occasions.
In respect to the first question, you were asking me if I would give a date in terms of when the meeting will go on, in terms of the cut-off lands. I think I said that I will make a full report to cabinet. I hope that we can spend a great deal of time discussing it, and that's very difficult when you are in session and when you are doing this kind of thing.
In the meanwhile we are meeting with Indian people; I am constantly meeting with Indian people on this and getting more information than we previously had. I think that the one thing I might say is that the kind of expertise that is available is not actually available to us at the moment in this province. Most of the expertise has been grabbed off by the Indian people. They have most of the lawyers who know the situation — most of the experts. We are trying to build this kind of expertise, because you need to do that. But in terms of a firm date, I think it is entirely up to the results of the discussions on the report that I will make, or the discussions that will follow the report I will make to cabinet.
MR. GIBSON: Within six months?
HON. MR. LEVI: Within six months? I can't give you a date on that. The thing is that we have met with the group; we will probably meet with them again. The cut-off land committee has been around this building, I think, for the last two weeks, meeting with all sorts of caucuses. The thing is that I have to make that kind of report. Meanwhile, we will continue to do what we are doing.
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Hon. Member for Oak Bay.
MRS. JORDAN: Oh, Mr. Chairman....
MR. SPEAKER: Order, please. The Chair tries to be fair to all parties and give equal time to all parties. The Conservative Party has not yet been heard from. The Hon. Member for Oak Bay.
MRS. JORDAN: The Member wasn't even in the House when I tried to speak!
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Mr. Chairman, I think I can appreciate the frustration of the Member
[ Page 1455 ]
for North Okanagan because with the new system that we have, apart from the fact that I don't sleep any more, I have to not only have one ear to the speaker in my office and one hand to write my speeches, but I need another hand to try and keep up with what is going on generally.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Why don't you give your body to medical science if that's the case?
MR. WALLACE: I must protest in the strongest terms the circus that we are now indulging in and trying to carry out a sensible debate on estimates. It is completely irrational, and it is causing a very poor standard of debate. I have to try in half an hour to cover the whole field of the Department of Human Resources. If you take your full half hour, you feel that you are being unfair to other Members of the opposition. If the Minister chooses to answer, he takes up time. The next thing is that we are criticizing the Minister for taking up time answering questions, which is the whole purpose of estimates — for us as individuals to question the government and have the government Minister answer. This absolute farce in which we are now indulging is really, I think, very regrettable. The sooner we all stop behaving like children and get together in the spirit of compromise, the better. I am ready to start right now because I have had the most frustrating afternoon trying to prepare these notes for this debate. This is a very important debate, Mr. Chairman.
The people of British Columbia are very sympathetic to the needs of those in society who, as the Minister states, cannot help themselves and for no reason of their own require assistance, using that in the broadest general terms. But there has to be some clear explanation to the people of British Columbia that the very large sums of money being spent in this department are being spent judiciously and with adequate supervision and, in effect, ensuring that the money that should be justifiably spent on those in need does in fact reach the predetermined goal.
The sums of money that are involved this year represent very large increases over last year, even if we use the revised estimate figure, the figure of the $100-million overrun. We are now faced with an increase of 34 per cent. If you take last year's original figure, it is 81 per cent. That is a fantastic increase in money in one particular department, even though the Minister, I think in fairness, has demonstrated many of the legitimate areas in which more money needed to be spent. I think it is quite fair to agree with the Minister that certainly not all of this money by any means is going into social assistance as such. He has outlined other programmes.
But just let me pick a figure at random. The cost of administration of Pharmacare is up 118 per cent according to the figures in vote 110. Here again, Mr. Chairman, because of the crazy system by which we are debating estimates, instead of being able to take a general look at the department as a whole, you have to jump around and refer to different votes because we may not get back to these votes again.
AN HON. MEMBER: Right on!
MR. WALLACE: The more one looks at this system, the more absolutely frustrated one becomes. I have no surprise in thinking that the voters in this province must wonder just what kind of people they have elected — all of us, perhaps, collectively — to represent their interests, when we can't even agree to a sensible format for debating something as important as $500-odd million in Human Resources money.
Anyway; I'll try to be very brief on this. If you look at something such as the cost of administration...I have some figures that we have taken the trouble to look at here. Central administration, the Deputy Minister's office, is up by 32 per cent. Personnel administration is up by 78 per cent. Office support services is up by 60 per cent. Under programme administration, we've got social assistance Mincome administration up by 45 per cent, residential treatment programmes administration up by 60 per cent, community programmes administration up 45 per cent, Pharmacare administration up 180 per cent. The total vote increase is 37.5 per cent. I have done that very quickly because time is a big problem in this manner of debating the estimates.
The fact is, Mr. Chairman, that despite the well-motivated spending of larger sums of money, many people in the province are asking how efficient or otherwise the administration of these funds is and to what degree the department is involving more and more administrators who really in the long run don't provide the actual service for which the money is being provided.
I just feel the only way we can handle the debate today is to pose a series of questions to the Minister and then we'll complain because he takes a lot of time to answer them, I suppose.
But in regard, for example, to social assistance, where the overrun was $44.9 million, just let me ask one question. How much of this was due to the increased use of family aides — aides in the family home? I'm not sure of your precise description of them. They're certainly not social workers. I'm talking about the people with limited training who function in advising families to various degrees. I'd like to know how much of the $44 million overrun was incurred in providing these aides because I understand that they have limited training, they're not social workers and one has to ask the question: how efficient or how risky might it be to have people of limited training dealing with perhaps serious family
[ Page 1456 ]
problems, disturbed children and the like. And I wonder how much cost was incurred in providing this additional number of people.
The Minister mentioned in his press release on September 23 last year that the percentage of those on social assistance defined as employable was 15 per cent. If there's one comment we hear around this province, when you talk about the Human Resources budget and one tries to discuss the various ways in which the money is spent, there is a clear impression that many people are on welfare who should not be on welfare. When we determine that 14 per cent of the people on welfare are designated as employable (in other words they're not handicapped or sick or disabled in some way) one has to ask the inevitable question of the Minister: is this percentage on the increase, is it static, or is it less than last year? What specific measures are being taken to either retrain or find jobs or create jobs for that very significant percentage? Fifteen per cent is a significant number in relation to the fact that the overrun alone was $44.9 million. I'd like to ask what criteria we are now using to establish whether or not an employable person in fact could find a job or in some way could be made a productive member of society.
The last question on that issue would be to ask the Minister if he's satisfied with the system that's being used to keep tabs on people who are not averse to trying to cheat the system. I've noticed quite a few convictions in the press lately. My impression is that the convictions are on the increase. I would like to ask whether the Minister has any hard data to show that the attempts at deception are on the increase and whether he's satisfied with his department's system of looking into these abuses.
In terms of the increased number receiving social assistance, I wonder if this affects a particular age group. We've talked in the House many times about the capacity of the system of education to teach appropriate jobs or appropriate types of training so that when the person leaves school or college the jobs will be available. I wonder if we're any further forward in trying to relate our educational programmes to the jobs available. And I wonder if any great number of that 15 per cent were in the forestry and mining industries. We know that unemployment inevitably has to take its toll in increasing welfare rolls and I wonder if we have any specific statistics to show just what effect the problems in the mining and forestry industries have had in swelling the welfare rolls.
I'd like to talk very quickly about day care. The Minister released a statement the other day, I think, dated March 27. I want to make it plain I favour the general concept of day care. Again, I just want to talk about internal efficiency and administration and budgeting. On this memo of March 28, 1975, the Minister makes the statement: "No further applications for day-care capital or equipment grants will be considered after December 1, 1975. Those not accepted will be held and reconsidered after December 1, 1975." Now the Minister has talked about day care and we had a demonstration here in the buildings today which related directly to a cutback in day-care service of one kind or another.
I wonder if the Minister could answer a few questions. First of all, how many applications are presently pending which will not now be processed until December 1, 1975? How many day-care applications had been approved prior to this memo of March 27? And a very telling question that I hope the Minister can answer: I've had people tell me that in applying for day care the income figure which is used could be the net figure on a person's paycheque after payroll deductions.
I have been told that if somebody, for example, in Powell River deducts Canada Savings Bonds from the gross income all the other various deductions are legitimate, but they are able to put away so much a month into Canada Savings Bonds — the net figure is considered to be the income figure on which the day-care subsidy is calculated. I was looking into it in some detail and find that certainly interest on loans, which can be deducted from the payroll cheque, is also eligible for consideration as a legitimate expense before you calculate your net income as an employee.
My information may be wrong, but I was given it by an irate citizen who works in the same neighbourhood as a person who was making these various deductions and then showing the net income to be really disproportionately low.
Of course, while I am in favour of the concept of day care, I think we have to be very careful that it is not subject to this kind of abuse where a person is misrepresenting what their net income really is.
I wonder if the sliding scale of income used to calculate subsidy has been altered in the last year. At the session last year the Minister gave us a folder showing how the rates are calculated and applied. I wonder if that has been changed at all in the last 12 months in relation to rising costs and other indices that we use to try and make these payments and allowances relevant.
I will just interject, a little out of order, I suppose, but very quickly, Mr. Chairman. I also wonder whether today's demonstration on this day-care issue didn't shake a few people as to the degree of security and safety we have in this building. I came in and found a long length of corridor completely blocked by demonstrators. While I believe in every right to demonstrate peacefully, I just wonder about security precautions and fire safety when I looked at literally dozens, if not more, children — one of them lying sound asleep on the floor. I know the security staff was quite upset by the sudden demand. I just put that in as a point that I think maybe the Speaker or the
[ Page 1457 ]
Provincial Secretary (Hon. Mr. Hall) would want to look at.
The Minister has often talked about moving money around. I touched on this yesterday when we discussed the estimates of the Minister of Health (Hon. Mr. Cocke) — in that there doesn't seem to be an equitable distribution of the funds available and that some people seem to get a very substantial and reasonable amount of assistance, and others are left relatively poorly off. I wonder if the Minister has got any comment to make about the point I raised yesterday regarding extended care and the fact that the patient on Mincome pays $1 a day for pretty well total needs, including drugs and nursing services, food, heat, light, shelter, the whole works. Yet total payment a month is $238. I wonder if this Minister and the Minister of Health have had any discussions or have made any decisions to move the money around.
Very quickly I would like to touch on the whole question of resources boards. I'm just completely puzzled to look at the budget and find that there is $20 million for Vancouver and $1 million for outside of Vancouver. Now we all know that Vancouver is often a favoured spot, but I'm sure there must be an explanation. Since I read this in the small hours of this morning, I've been trying to figure out what the explanation is. I have to assume that resources boards have been set up in Vancouver and hardly anywhere else outside of Vancouver. What is the reason for that?
We criticized the legislation last year because it did seem to be very loosely set up in terms of the mechanism for electing members to resources boards. Although there hasn't been a great deal of publicity lately in the newspapers, I just wonder how well they are functioning.
I certainly have to take the strongest exception to the action of one resources board. I'm not sure of the exact description of the resources board — and the Minister knows well the example I am just about to mention.
I'm talking about a lady, Mrs. Beatrice Winters, who has spent many years and a great deal of her personal money — she is now completely financially broke — providing a service to senior citizens. It is a call-in service, or a telephone service, where she helps senior citizens with information, transportation to the doctor's office, this kind of service.
I haven't got time to go into the whole issue, but it is very well described in The Province of February 26, when she was interviewed and pointed out that at different times she has had a LIP grant. Then it ran out last summer and since then she has sold her jewellery and her television to pay the rent. She's appealed to the resources board, and has been told that there can be no funding through the resources board. She has been told she can appeal the decision.
The degree to which I've been involved in this particular one specific instance just makes me boggle at the tremendous bureaucracy which must be involved in these resources boards, wherever they exist, just to cover all the paperwork, phoning and administration that I've encountered in this one case of Mrs. Winters.
If this is just one simple example, then God help us for all the amount of time and effort and paper and money that's being spent within a highly structured bureaucratic kind of system. All we've got is a woman who's demonstrated her kindred spirit with elderly people and her willingness to work and put her own money and her own effort into it. All she gets is the cold shoulder from the new bureaucratic structure that's supposed to look after the needs of senior citizens.
I don't wish to sound unduly harsh on one case, because I know that one swallow doesn't make a summer. But it certainly opens a politician's mind when lie gets involved in this kind of specific instance. I'm left wondering how many more there might be, regardless of whether it's senior citizens or handicapped children or whatever. I hope it's not too late for the Minister to take a look at this service when Mrs. Winters provides, called Willing Hands.
The question of family aides I've touched upon already. I'm just wondering if there's any problem in their salary in that they come so close to the salary of social workers. Has there been any real problem within the department? Again I'm referring to the partially-trained or...I don't know what the exact description would be of the family aide.
In how many cases is that a one-on-one situation? In other words, in how many cases do we have a family aide who goes into a home and deals for seven or eight hours with one person in the family? While I agree with the Minister that in the largest possible way one should treat the family problem within the family and within the home, I keep coming back to the question the taxpayers are asking: just how far can one go.
The Minister of Health (Hon. Mr. Cocke) told us yesterday that you can only have a certain amount of money, even though the demand on the service is a bottomless pit. The same kind of thinking is high in the minds of many taxpayers in regard to the Department of Human Resources. So if there are very many cases where one individual family aide is responsible full-time for one individual member of a family, this, again, would make me boggle a little bit at the kinds of costs that we're involved in.
This leads into the area of juvenile delinquency. The position is outlined clearly by the Minister on many occasions that the problem of delinquent juveniles is a community problem. It's not created by the government; much of it is the direct responsibility of parents and citizens, generally, in the community
[ Page 1458 ]
where the delinquent grows up.
I wonder, to be specific, if the Minister is ready to make any statement on the Berger report, particularly the family, the courts and the community. I would like to raise again the point that I raised with the Attorney-General (Hon. Mr. Macdonald) in question period one day.
Let me preface it by saying that I don't disagree with the sound general concept that problems, basically — if at all possible — should be dealt with in the community. Incarcerating children just perhaps predetermines their later criminal behaviour with certainty. But there is a certain percentage of juvenile delinquents — for lack of a better word — who certainly are causing very serious problems in various communities. The community I quoted — I don't plan to reveal any names or anything.
I won't take the time and I won't reveal names, but this is an example: this is a youngster who's 14 years old. Until March of this year he was in the Island Youth Centre and was found to be unmanageable. I won't go into all the details, but since October 15, 1974, he's run away four times in the first week, two charges of breaking and entering, willful damage and theft. In October and November he ran away four times; in December there were four breaking and enterings.
[Mr. G.H. Anderson in the chair.]
There's some other information that I'd rather not go into here, but the fact is that he's now in the Victoria lockup because of the strike. At least this is the information I had from the Attorney-General a week or two ago. The Minister is shaking his head. If that's not correct, I'll correct that for the record right now.
The problem is that this child exemplifies a small percentage of problem children who cannot be handled in the community sense with more of the approach that if you're reasonable and deal with incentives and so on, the person will respond. In case anybody immediately brands me a red-neck Tory, I would like to quote from Mr. Justice Berger, a former leader of the NDP and a highly renowned justice who is doing an excellent job in the north.
He says on page 68 of his royal commission report:
"We have to acknowledge that there are a limited number of juveniles who must be confined, in some cases over the short term, in other cases over the long term, to protect themselves and the public. We know there are some juveniles whose alienation is so deep-seated and whose tendency to violence is so marked that we cannot rely upon ordinary measures."
Later, on page 69:
"If the activities of a relatively small number of juveniles in this province ultimately encourage the enactment of repressive legislation applicable to all juveniles, such a result will only impede the development of sane delinquency policies and it is quite unlikely to provide the necessary answers to the complex problems of children in conflict with the law." I agree with that, but then he goes on with a recommendation:
"We have concluded that secure accommodation for a limited number of juveniles must be established so as to enable them to be properly dealt with and so as not to undermine the policy of returning juveniles to their homes and to their communities, a policy which we believe is sound for the vast majority of juveniles."
In passing, Mr. Chairman, I think this particular report, regardless of this one specific, is beautifully written. So many reports politicians are stuck with are tedious and written in awkward English, and you find it a real labour to get through the report. I must say that Justice Berger's report is eminently readable and very down-to-earth and it makes it very much easier to get the gist and the true crux of what the commission concluded in this regard.
I just wonder whether the Minister at this point in time can say whether he accepts that fairly important conclusion that there is a minority of juvenile problems that do have to be controlled in secure accommodation. I don't want to belabour the point because it is important to add that Mr. Berger also says it is very important that such juveniles in that kind of accommodation be subject to review. He suggests it should not be longer than 30 days they are retained there and never more than 60 days. I think that kind of compromise would give the communities the kind of assurance, certainly up-island in recent days, that while 90 per cent or more of the problems can be handled with the additional personnel and programmes that the Minister has outlined, the communities can feel safe from some of the very dangerous episodes of high-speed chases in stolen automobiles and the like.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Excuse me, Hon. Member. You have two minutes to wind up.
MR. WALLACE: I was afraid you were going to say that pretty soon, Mr. Chairman, because I am not nearly finished.
This is a point that I would like the Minister to answer.
If I could just quickly touch on one of the last questions I would like to hear more about, it is the homecare programme. The Select Standing Committee on Health, Education and Human
[ Page 1459 ]
Resources travelled the province two years ago and came up with some very productive and positive recommendations about the capacity to keep senior citizens in their homes by a wider programme of services. I notice from the recent report of the homemakers that there is still a problem in providing some measure of uniform subsidy in different parts of the province, deciding on the hourly rate and the whole question of conditions of employment. I think this really is an issue that offers so much both in terms of a superior service, keeping the senior citizen in the home, and providing the service more economically than in any form of institution. I hope the Minister has got some specific proposal on that.
HON. MR. LEVI: Do you want to get up, Madam Member?
MRS. JORDAN: Go ahead.
HON. MR. LEVI: Okay.
It took him half an hour to say it. I'll see if I can answer quickly.
On the homemaker programme, the budget is significantly increased. We now have a full-time co-ordinator for this, Mrs. Kimmett, and we have notified all of the homemaker associations about an attempt at standardization in terms of pay and administration costs. We would expect that we can look for a significant number of more people being in the field.
We estimate, if you have to break it down, that last year on a full-time basis there were 1,100 people working in the homemaker area. We would expect to see more of that happening and of course combined now with the Minister of Health's (Hon. Mr. Cocke's) home-care programme which has been broadened and is not just a post-operative process. We see that as being an extremely valuable way of stopping the input into the chronic-care system. We have placed a great deal of money into that budget and we will be expecting to expand the service.
I will be attending the homemaker conference at the end of this month or the beginning of next month but I think that we have finally been able to bring about some standardization in terms of what people are paid. Obviously there will be a pay increase because they have been operating at very low levels and there is money in there to take care of that.
On the delinquency thing, I think the Member was out of the House when I spoke about it. I have never denied that we are having to deal with a very small number of difficult young people. The important question is how we deal with them. Now we have the recommendations from the Berger commission. The human resources committee of cabinet will be meeting on this. We have discussed it a couple of times and will be discussing it again.
It is important that we do the right kind of thing. The reason I say this is that as a matter of history in this province, we have never actually had a jail for children other than what Brannen Lake, which is now the Island Youth Centre, was characterized as.
But it was open. The number of escapes from there were in the hundreds. There were 150 boys. A large number of escapes were escapes of young, very desperate young people — not desperate in the sense that they were a menace. A small number, yes, make serious problems.
When there was a closed situation in there — and there was a closed situation downstairs in the cells — we had all sorts of violence, attempted suicides; the staff were attacked. So if we have to develop facilities, we're going to have to be very, very careful about the way we do this. So we're examining this. Let me warn the taxpayers that this is not an inexpensive process.
The other thing is that I would point to what Alberta went through recently. They built two such operations, which they've now abandoned as being unworkable, The attempt that we have been making, with the one-on-one, the special services to children, the kind of programmes that we're cooperating on with the police in Vancouver on Water Street, the participation of the department for the community policing that is going on in the Vancouver South area: all of this will lead to mechanisms for dealing with this kind of problem — and the question of evaluating children, assessment so that we know very specifically what we can do. We appreciate — and I certainly do, having been in the field a long time — that we have to have special facilities.
But we must bear something in mind. I was recently in Ontario. They have some 1,500 young children locked up in jails. Now I know that nobody in this House wants to see us replicate that kind of situation.
You were talking about family aides and salary. What I think you were referring to is related to the special-services-for-children-programme. The special-services-for-children-programme people employed are employed at the first step of the child-care worker level. In all of the grants in aid that the department is involved with — and I think this is important for the Members to know — we have a significant grant-in-aid programme, from community grants to grants in activity centres. We provide all the funding for day-care centres; some 1,300 people work in day-care centres.
We are not attempting in any way to match civil service salaries. What we're attempting to do is to provide a service in the community — an extension, in some respects, of the voluntary service — but we are not matching in any way the civil service salaries. We have recently concluded a grant process, and built into the grant process was a 12 per cent increase for
[ Page 1460 ]
the staffs, an average of 12 per cent, in order that they can at least keep up with the inflation. These staff, these people who are hired on short-term contracts, one-on-one or sometimes on three or four.... On the one-on-one it's very difficult to give you a figure, but I was just saying to the staff here that it probably is in the order of 10 per cent of the children. We have dealt with some 1,600; it may have been that we were dealing with 160. I'll be in a much better position, when we get to the third evaluation report, to inform the House. But certainly some young people are being dealt with in a one-on-one situation. We had one situation where there were two on one, which was eventually reduced, and it worked out.
I can think for one example of a young child who was in a day-care centre. The supervisor said: "If we don't get some help in this day-care centre, we're going to throw the child out." You know, they're going to be a dropout at five years of age in a day-care centre . We put in a special-services-for-children worker on a part-time basis — the cost of the salary was $160 a month — and this was a very successful kind of process in terms of assisting the day-care centre with this very difficult youngster. There was some input as well into the home by the same worker.
So what we've attempted to do is the kind of thing that has happened in the field for years and years. All of us, when we worked in the field — you know about it, Mr. Premier — sat around saying that if we could just get a worker in there now to head off that kind of problem, we could do something. But we never had the workers. What we have done with the special-services-to-children programme is to attempt to make those people available.
Now who are we using? We're using all sorts of people in the community. We use people, for instance, who have been active in the Scout movement, in the Girl Guides; they've been teachers or social workers, or nurses who have some time to give in terms of being involved in this kind of process.
That's what we're doing in terms of trying to head off and do intervention. That's one of the things in the field we were never able to do — get in there and do some preventive work. That's what is happening in this programme.
The Member talked about Mrs. V. Winters. I know Mrs. V. Winters. She wrote to me more than a year ago and I said that I could not make her a grant unless she were a non-profit society. That's the basis on which we make grants in this department. So she set out to become a non-profit society. By the time she had accomplished that, the funding for the Vancouver area was being done by the Vancouver Resources Board.
Now let me say something, because the Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace) talked about the enormous paper and all the bureaucracy. I'll tell you about what's going on over there.
About a month ago, or six weeks ago, I attended a meeting on Friday morning with the Vancouver Resources Board grants committee. There were 15 people present on one side of the table and four of us on the other. The four of us on the other were myself, an assistant and two of the staff. Of the 15 people, two of them were elected officials, Alderman Rankin and Alderman Marzari. But the rest, the other 13 people, were citizens who had been elected to the various resources boards, who were on the committee, who took the trouble to come on that Friday morning — and some of them took time off from work — to sit and make the decision about the total grant budget. I didn't go through all the grants. We talked about the global budget. This was one of the hardest-nosed bargaining sessions I've ever been in. But this wasn't done by bureaucrats; this was done by citizens who had been elected to boards who took the trouble to come to that kind of meeting.
Previously, the Member for Langley was worried about the resources board taking over the function of the Alcohol and Drug Commission. He characterized it that it would be a group of lay people involved in delivering service. Now this obviously is not the case. The Vancouver Resources Board is the employer of some 1,300 people. The 1,300 people are the combined staffs of the Children's Aid Society, which has been dissolved, the Catholic Children's Aid Society, which has also been dissolved, and the Vancouver Welfare and Rehabilitation Department. Those were existing operations. The children's aid societies were funded by the government to the tune, before we took them over, of some $14 million.
We took over the administration of the welfare department of the City of Vancouver and saved the citizens of Vancouver $4 million. We felt it was essential to take it over because that's one-third of the total system in the province. As I said in my opening remarks, we reduced.... There were 84 people in the bureaucracy; that has been reduced to 52. We are delivering service in 12 offices. People are working as teams. I would invite any of you, if you go to Vancouver, to please go and see what kind of an operation is going on. It is the kind of operation that people in the field, as well as the voluntary sector.... When I was on the United Community Services board, we talked about the need and desire to have integration of services. Well, it's happening over there, and it's well worth seeing.
We have an integration-of-service process going on in the Capital Regional District. We took it into the department. There is an advisory group that assists us on the grant process; it is assisting us on some policy ideas. We are involving the community; it's not all bureaucracy. Obviously there is some bureaucracy, but it's not all bureaucracy.
[ Page 1461 ]
You were talking earlier about extended care and Mincome. I think I already announced that we no longer pay the Mincome payment to people in extended care. People have $1-a-day expenses. It's not necessary to allow people to build up large savings accounts in this respect. The question that the Member also asked....
MR. WALLACE: What do you pay them?
HON. MR. LEVI: Well, they are getting their old-age pension and guaranteed income supplement. But the Minister of Health (Hon. Mr. Cocke), myself and the Minister of Housing (Hon. Mr. Nicolson) meet constantly about the general situation in relation to the chronic-care system. I would like to give you an example of the kind of problems that we are dealing with in the department. The chronic-care system in British Columbia was built on the backs of the people who worked in the system at very, very low pay. Those days are now passed. People in that system have become unionized, and we have situations in the province where we are picking up very large costs in terms of increases in pay as a result of unionization. Of course, the problems of inflation in the field are very difficult. So we are constantly meeting on this and we are constantly looking at the kind of solutions.
There are many more beds coming on stream. The Minister of Health outlined this the other day, We are not involved in the extended-care area but rather in the intermediate care. We are picking up in the department the costs of some 5,200 beds in the private system where there are some 13,000 beds.
HON. MR. LEVI: Yes, that's personal care, intermediate care and the boarding-home situation.
You asked about the day care and the subsidy programme. We broke new ground in Canada by introducing an income-tested programme, but we did not get it in all of the way we wanted it with the federal government. It's still, if you look at it very realistically, not quite an income-tested programme. We have broken out of making it available to people just at the welfare level. We wanted to get at the low-income working people and people who were making money slightly higher than that. So we do look at their net income. We do look at what kind of situation they are in with respect to a debt situation, and we make some allowances. We recently increased by $20...that was the increase of the welfare payment of that chart that I issued last week.
On the example which you give, I have had some letters about this kind of thing and I have asked the staff to have a look at it. We do have a fairly good interview situation in which people are looking at this. We look at the form to make sure that we are getting an exact accounting. But I am satisfied — and I spent a lot of time looking at the day-care question, because it's something I was always very interested in — that we have good controls on this. What we do have to labour with, of course, are the interpretations of different staff in relation to the kind of forms we have. I would be interested in hearing more about the situation...Powell River I think you said.
HON. MR. LEVI: Well, I'd be interested in seeing that one because you mentioned that in relation to Canada Savings Bonds. Yes.
Now, what I'd like to do is get into the social assistance question. I won't be too much longer, Madam Member.
MR. WALLACE: What about the demonstration today?
HON. MR. LEVI: Oh, the demonstration?
HON. MR. LEVI: Yes, I'm watching the clock too.
On the demonstration today — well, the demonstration related to the concern of the people....
HON. MR. LEVI: Shhh! Don't interrupt.
The people who came were really people who were arguing the question that we should be providing hot meals in day-care centres. I made the point with them that we have a policy of what we call provincial equity. The thing is that we have 22,000 children in the day-care system. We have a million children right now in British Columbia under the age of 17.
All right, they were making the point — and their argument was an interesting one — that they should be able to provide hot meals. But to provide hot meals for all of the children in day care would cost something like, by their figures, $8 million, and, by our figures, $4 million more. This is not something that we're in a position to do. Neither have we had really any significant demands to do this. But that was the basis, I think, of the demonstration today.
The question of social assistance is what I want to get into. The original overrun statement was $44 million. You may recall that I said that we did make a significant error of some $11 million because of the failure to calculate the June, 1973, increase. Then we said that projecting the behaviour that was going on at that time in the economy, we would need to come in with another $33 million in order to be able to
[ Page 1462 ]
afford the kind of case load that we anticipated.
Now sometime during this session I'll be in a position to give the latest figures and also give you the question of the overrun figure, which I'm happy to say is less than what we anticipated. But the thing is, I want to be able to give the House some exact figures.
On the actual business of the social assistance and the unemployed employables, you said earlier that $516 million was the budget. I do ask you to look very closely at the fact that this department was not responsible for the operation of the mentally retarded services. We took those over from the department of mental health. That figure is some $26 million.
We did not have last year In the budget the Alcohol and Drug Commission because we were taking those costs out of the alcohol and drug and tobacco fund. There's some $31 million-plus expenses in relation to Glendale and some of the extended-care situations.
There was about $32 million that simply was not in the budget last year in terms of services that we were providing. The difference that you're really looking at is $100 million difference between the $384 and the $483 million, which I think it comes to.
But in respect to the unemployed employables, we started a programme in Vancouver and Victoria where we had to get into the job referral system in cooperation with Canada Manpower. I now have the figures and I can tell you that in Vancouver, from October, 1974, until the end of February, 1975, some 9,187 people were seen by the staff in Vancouver in the single men's unit and 5,253 of those people were seen by the rehab people. That is, they go upstairs because they were classed as employable for employment. Now what I want to point out to you is that there is almost a 40 per cent difference between the 9,100 and the 5,200. You might well ask: what happened to them? I can tell you that they didn't go upstairs; they left. So that was reduced significantly. Of that number....
HON. MR. LEVI: No. The system is being applied pretty well around the province; 2,835 were referred to jobs and 1,695 had confirmed employment. That's in five months.
We have used the same process over here and we've used it in some of the other offices. I'd also like to say that we've been having a very good working relationship now with the Unemployment Insurance Commission, and we are doing a tape matching in the Vancouver area. This is with the cooperation of the Unemployment Insurance Commission.
What we had to do in the Vancouver area was to get all of the tapes so that everybody was under a social insurance number. We are now able to match the two tapes and we can anticipate before we issue welfare cheques as to whether these people who had applied for unemployment insurance have been put into pay.
Now it's only been possible to do that since last November because of their new system and our new system. We expect to be able to broaden that around the province as both systems are able to catch up and mesh. The general approach has been that if you can be referred to a job, you must accept it providing it's $2.50 an hour and the conditions are working. That has led to the bush radio back east saying: "It's pretty tough out there now. They keep referring you to work."
We did start a programme which we were not able to carry on with, particularly from Victoria here, where we were sending people to Alberta with the cooperation of the Canada Manpower people because there they have a very significant shortage of labour. That's now picking up again. We've worked out some of the problems and that's now happening again.
[Mr. Dent in the chair.]
I just want to say one thing about unemployables. They are, of course, the people that the public are up in arms about. We have just under 30,000 people who are single people between the ages of 18 and 59. In that category are all sorts of people. Certainly there are a significant number of people over the age of 40. There are people who are alcoholics, people with problems around their mental health and any range of problems. We have estimated that we have somewhere between 7,000, 8,000 or 9,000 — we never quite know because it's a question of whether they are employable.
Let's say 10,000 people are unemployable. We know from the caseload that that turns over at the rate of 50 per cent. You just have to look at the figures I gave you here of the kind of volume and the kind of process that takes place. Last year some 18,000 people went off welfare into employment. The caseload — the latest figures I have at the present time — I think is 129,000. We've got 29,000 single people between the ages of 18 and 59 — not all employable. We have some increase in the number of children and family heads who are on welfare.
The important thing is, as I said in the House in March, that only about $16 million goes into this area of the single, so-called employable person. Remember that these people are competing with all of those people who are seeking employment who may be on the unemployment insurance rolls. We do not have the most employable people.
But we have introduced a system, because we have been able to move the staff from the real concern they had with developing Pharmacare, Mincome and this kind of programme, into the business of
[ Page 1463 ]
addressing themselves to the unemployed employables. I think we are making a real effort in this area. Bear in mind that we are still in this country the province of last resort. Everybody comes to B.C. We have large numbers of people whom we have to take care of.
HON. MR. LEVI: Approximately $16 million. So 97 per cent of the total budget of the department is going on a range of services. I just want to answer a couple more questions and then I'm going to sit down.
You made reference to the staffing increases around Pharmacare and Mincome. Pharmacare and Mincome were in a category where they were only temporary staff. We finally have brought them in on a permanent basis so they show in the budget for the first time. They were previously paid out of the salary contingency budget. So there's not an increase in the number of staff; it's just that they are now permanent employees. I think I've pretty well answered all the questions you've asked.
MRS. JORDAN: In response to the Minister's statement that British Columbia is the province of last resort, I would suggest that it may well be the province of last resort. It also has the government of last resort. This is one of our problems. I think we must use the last little while to reinforce the statements of the Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace), who was right again. All Members feel this way, they're in a position now under this forced, selective closure of having a Minister who is trying to answer the questions but we are not getting an opportunity to rebut some of his statements. Mr. Minister, we don't agree with some of the things you've been saying. We feel that you're long on talk and short on facts in many areas.
HON. MR. LEVI: Don't waste your time — tell me about them.
MRS. JORDAN: Waste time? There are less than 55 minutes to finish debating $500 million so let's not get sidetracked. The point at issue on this is, in fact, that there is not time to debate properly your estimates, there is not time to refute statements.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MRS. JORDAN: The Minister has shown how you can....
HON. MR. COCKE: Where's the alternative proposal?
AN HON. MEMBER: Use the time available.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. Would the Hon. Member confine her remarks to the vote?
MRS. JORDAN: I am, Mr. Chairman. The Minister put in a document today, if some read it — 14 pages-odd long. He's a Minister who's had the tradition of not making announcements in this House, of calling press conferences. Why this time did he not call a press conference this morning and issue this printed document that he read in the House? He could have done that. He could have issued it to the Members and they would have had a chance to rebut the statements. Mr. Minister, this document is full of inaccuracies.
HON. MR. LEVI: Name one inaccuracy.
MRS. JORDAN: You know it and that's why this government is forcing closure on this House. I would disagree with the Hon. Member in his solution to the problem because I say....
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Name one inaccuracy!
MRS. JORDAN: Would you boys be quiet and let us have our time, please?
You cannot compromise any more. This House has tried to get along with this government. Our Whips have tried to compromise; the committee on this issue tried to work it out. It was an all-party committee and there was a minority report filed. No, Mr. Member, we must not compromise on this point. You as a physician know that creeping paralysis is considered a fatal disease; the result is death of the patient. We say that this government is inflicting creeping paralysis of democracy in this province.
HON. G.R. LEA (Minister of Highways): Name one inaccuracy.
MRS. JORDAN: You are treating with contempt. (Laughter.)
You are completely disregarding the democratic rights of people in this province, the democratic rights of the legislators of this province. You are treating this Legislature itself and the whole British parliamentary system with contempt. It's creeping paralysis which will kill democracy in British Columbia. We will not compromise.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please.
MRS. JORDAN: There comes a time in everyone's life ...
[ Page 1464 ]
MR. CHAIRMAN: Would the Hon. Member relate her remarks to the reports?
MRS. JORDAN: ...and in every debate on estimates of $500-odd millions...
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order!
MRS. JORDAN: ...when you must not compromise. You have to dig in your heels and stand up and fight.
HON. MR. LEA: Name an inaccuracy.
MRS. JORDAN: Mr. Chairman, this Minister talked on and on and on about dollars spent. His report is full of dollars spent. Yet consistently he has shown very, very little understanding of money. He seems to think that the more money he spends, the better the programme. He shows no evidence of accountability. He shows no evidence of weighing the effectiveness of the spending of those dollars. I suggest that that is one of the other reasons why there should be more time spent in debating his estimates.
Since the assumption of his office, this Minister has been in a position where he has been charged with irresponsibility and sloppiness in his administration. He has been charged by his own staff members of being incapable of giving direction and offering leadership. We know that throughout this province this department is in a state of confusion. Staff are insecure...
HON. MR. LEVI: Name names.
MRS. JORDAN: ...and unsure of their direction and where to go. His lack of direction has been clearly evident in community resources boards.
The Hon. Member pointed out there was $20 million for a programme that was to go into effect two years ago, $19 million to be spent in one area of the province. Because we're short of time, we can't go into this.
HON. MR. LEVI: Oh, yes you can.
MRS. JORDAN: Mr. Member, in the community in which our family lives....
MRS. JORDAN: There are other Members who wish to speak, Mr. Minister.
HON. MR. LEVI: Three-quarters of an hour. Go ahead.
MRS. JORDAN: In the community in which I live, we have a social planning council run by volunteers who acted as a resource centre, as an advisory board, and as an overseer of community programmes and social service programmes in our area. They, with inputting of a number of people from a number of interests, helped evaluate programmes that were in existence and helped encourage their change and adaptation or, in fact, their phasing out if this was in the best interests of the people who needed the services in our area.
HON. MR. LEVI: They had a staff.
MRS. JORDAN: Mr. Minister, they didn't want the staff that you want. Mr. Minister, they were an information centre for people who wanted to have service and who wanted to know where to go. Mr. Minister, they disbanded under your direction and we in our community were without any direction in this area for over a year. Now what are we doing? We are reforming the same social planning council because of your lack of direction, because of a lack of effectiveness in your programme. Mr. Minister, you are long on talk and you are short on action.
HON. MR. LEVI: Name an inaccuracy.
MRS. JORDAN: This Minister has come under considerable attack because of his conduct in relation to the handling of money in his department — a $103 million overrun which has never yet been satisfactorily explained; $103 million, Mr. Minister, of taxpayers' money. First it was the fault of a clerk, a clerical error. Now he says, in time, it is the fault of inefficiency in some of his programmes which were all terribly efficient when he brought them in. But, Mr. Minister, no answer.
This Minister, Mr. Chairman, is under serious question about his personal handling of campaign contributions. This House is exceedingly disturbed that the Attorney-General (Mr. Macdonald), when speaking to this Minister's estimates, stated that it is not against the law for candidates to put campaign funds in their personal accounts.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I would remind the Hon. Member that she should confine her questions to the administrative responsibilities of the Minister.
MRS. JORDAN: I am, Mr. Chairman. I am answering the Attorney-General who spoke in this debate.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. The Hon. Attorney-General was out of order.
[ Page 1465 ]
MRS. JORDAN: If you will just wait a minute, I have a point that I will bring to the Minister's attention. I just want to make it clear that our position as a party and certainly mine as an individual is that, if it is not legally wrong, it is morally wrong for a candidate to handle financial contributions by putting them in his personal bank account.
[Mr. Chairman rises]
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! I have asked the Hon. Member to confine her remarks to the administrative....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order!
[Mr. Chairman resumes his seat]
MR. CHAIRMAN: I would just again state to the Hon. Member that the remarks she was making were out of order because they were not, as the Chair would interpret them, under the administrative responsibility of this Minister. With regard to her reference to other Members, if they were discussing this matter, they too were out of order. I would ask the Hon. Member to proceed.
MRS. JORDAN: I wish we would apply the same rules to every Member.
However, what I want to bring to the Chairman's attention and to this House's attention is the whole matter of this Minister's conduct and his inability to seem to be responsible in office and accountable in his role of hiking along a picket line.
Mr. Minister every Member in this House, your side and our side, has very deep feelings about many issues in this province. But each of us, when we assume the position we have in public office, must adhere to personal responsibility. We can't enjoy the luxury of emotional actions and emotional decisions. I suggest that this Minister has either acted illegally, emotionally or irresponsibly in walking on that picket line. I preface it with a question which I hope he will answer: did you ever read your oath of office? Or were you so excited when you were made a Minister that you just got in there and put your hand up and kissed the Bible, kissed the girls and signed your name?
AN HON. MEMBER: Oh, come on!
MRS. JORDAN: Because your oath of office says "I — and your name — do swear that I will be faithful and bear allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and successors, according to law."
HON. MR. COCKE: And no man has done it better than he has.
MRS. JORDAN: I will quote from the Vancouver paper: "Human Resources Minister Norman Levi joined a picket line at radio station CKLG Saturday, despite a B.C...."
MRS. JORDAN: These Ministers are all applauding this Minister breaking the law? "...despite a B.C. Supreme Court injunction that curtailed picketing."
I'm not suggesting that the Minister shouldn't be sympathetic to the cause. I'm suggesting that, as a Minister of the Crown of this province, as a representative of the people, he has first a responsibility to adhere to his oath and put his oath to the Crown and the people first, and secondly, to conduct himself in a responsible matter.
"The injunction Friday ordered members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 686, to stop harassing advertisers and limit the number of pickets to eight." Then it goes on to discuss it.
What is equally concerning is the Minister's response when he was confronted with this knowledge: he said that he wasn't aware of the injunction. That's why, Mr. Minister, I at least gave you the benefit of the doubt. But ignorance of the law has, historically, not been an excuse for anyone. Why ignorance of the law should be an excuse for a knowledgeable, proud, and at time arrogant, competent Minister of this Crown, I fail to see. I charge you, Mr. Minister, with promoting one law for Ministers of the Crown in this province and one law for the people.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I would ask the Hon. Member, when speaking of the actions of the Minister, to refer to his actions and not make offensive remarks as a Member.
MRS. JORDAN: I would like to know why he broke the law, through you, Mr. Chairman.
MRS. JORDAN: Yes, I have. In light of the fact that there are other Members who want to speak, I have another matter which pertains to this Minister's irresponsibility, his incapability of handling money, and his completely irresponsible attitude in not being accountable for his errors and omissions. In regards one of the great projects that you outlined in your document of great progress at the beginning of this session: youth resource centres. I'll pose my questions after.
Mr. Minister, you've been charged with
[ Page 1466 ]
irresponsibility, questionable handling of funds, and we find you bragging about youth resource centres in your programme. In my own area we have a youth resource centre under considerable question because of the administration of your department — Mara House.
Mara House is a youth resource centre — and I'm not going to go into the details of its running at this time, because of lack of time. What I'm concerned about at this particular moment is that Mara House was to be altered and added to; that a small company, a father and son and two workers, committed to do the job, and that they did this job starting in September....
HON. MR. LEVI: Now?
MRS. JORDAN: Well, here we are. We're going to blame somebody else.
HON. MR. LEVI: No, we're not.
MRS. JORDAN: Mr. Minister, your department owes them $30,000 plus $1,400 interest, and has owed them that money since the middle of October and earlier.
MRS. JORDAN: Mr. Minister, don't wiggle and worm your way out of this. Don't be long on talk and short on facts.
This is a small company — a father and son and two workers. They do not have a lot of capital. They formed this company two years ago to do small construction jobs, and they set themselves up in such a way so that they could be bonded and so that they could do work on small government projects — federal, provincial or municipal.
Mr. Chairman, I know you'll be most disturbed to know that they agreed to do a job for the youth resource centre in Vernon, which is organized and run by volunteers, people who have a long-standing history and a fine reputation of public service in our community. They agreed to have this company do the renovations.
This government, to date, paid them one-half of their money for the first project in September. They have paid them nothing on the other half of that project. It was a two-project job. Those people have had but one-quarter of their money. They had to go and secure the money to pay for materials, the wages, and to live themselves — $35,000. They are paying interest and they are now owed approximately $1,400 interest by this government.
What is more, Mr. Chairman, these people have been out of work, as far as bidding on the number of jobs that they would like to, since the middle of January when they completed this job. I'll bet you know the type of job they would like to have bid on, that they are capable of doing, and can't do because of the debt this government owes them.
There's a new federal post office being built in Armstrong. A small construction job which this company is quite capable of bidding on. They cannot bid because they cannot get a bond. The reason they can't get a bond is because it costs $10,000 to get a bond, and their money is all tied up by this government.
Mr. Minister, they were going to serve a writ on you and on the people at Mara House. When I heard about it I asked them to withhold this action, mostly concerned, I must confess, not about you, Mr. Minister, because your track record is such that you must be made accountable, but concerned about those volunteers who are trying to do a good job to meet your demands as far as the treatment of youth are concerned in this province. So they withheld serving the writ.
I contacted your department and got a very warm response from the person I contacted, and I lay no blame at his feet at all. He's a very responsible and honoured civil servant. What I do say, Mr. Minister, is that at 3 o'clock today they had not been paid. They had not been advised they were going to receive their money. Mr. Minister, their banker has even been down here to see you.
Why on earth is this government parading its expertise in the form of millions? Why is this Minister talking about his great programmes, yet the government won't allow us an opportunity to question them? Why is it we have a Minister who owes a little company — just a little group...riding on their back to carry out this Minister's programme — not being allowed to be held up to legislative scrutiny.
How many more centres, Mr. Minister? How many more bills are outstanding from the programmes you have introduced? We'd like to know, Mr. Minister. I would like to know when they are going to get their money, because I'm going to see that not only does this government pay them what it owes, but that this government pays them the interest it owes them.
I assure you, Mr. Minister, if this money doesn't go out within the next 24 hours there will be a writ served on you, and I hope there is in that case. It is not morally right and it is not democratically right that the administration for which you are responsible should be closed from scrutiny, should be closed from questioning, as is happening here.
The only thing we get are a lot of long statements; some of them are correct and some of them are wrong. The only thing the people get is publications coming out regularly, usually with the Minister's picture, statements from his wife, statements from his relatives — propaganda sheets to feed what the
[ Page 1467 ]
Minister wants the public to know, and not to answer the questions which they would like to ask.
Mr. Minister, you talk about your programmes...there isn't time because other Members want to speak, but I have letters upon letters here. I have a whole file, documented and ready for your estimates, of concerns of people and professional people in this province about your welfare in the woods, about the maladministration of your department, about the fact that you arbitrarily close down very efficient, well-serving, if not perfect, programmes in the schools. New Denver School for Boys, St. Christopher's School in North Vancouver — you don't mention those in your report, Mr. Minister.
I'll have you know that I have documented follow-ups on many of those students, those clients. You should not be proud; you should be hanging your head in shame.
I would like to talk about the adoption registry for adopted children that the Minister wants to foist on the people of this province.
I would like to talk about a number of other things. I would like to talk about how many day-care centres that were started and have been closed down, or are half empty within a month or two of their initiation. What sort of standards is this Minister setting to assure that children do get care?
It is sufficient to say, Mr. Minister, on the basis of the two major points I have brought up, that my colleague is correct. This Minister should resign for many reasons, not the least of which is his own personal conduct as the Minister, not the least of which is the fact that he talked in terms of millions in a grandiose style while riding on the back of a little company.
I challenge him, if he is going to give an answer, to give us a chance to answer back again. Resign, Mr. Minister, and save your colleague the embarrassment of discharging you.
MS. R. BROWN (Vancouver-Burrard): Mr. Chairman, on a matter of privilege.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. There can be no matter of privilege raised in committee.
MS. BROWN: Oh? Okay, I'll withdraw my privilege.
HON. MR. LEVI: Let me answer the Hon. Member's question. You've got to listen very carefully, because when you got up....
AN HON. MEMBER: She still won't hear.
HON. MR. LEVI: You won't hear, but you've got to listen.
First of all, if you are going to tell the story, Madam Member, tell the whole story. Don't come in here with half-baked notions. I'll tell you the full story and then we'll tell you....
MRS. JORDAN: Who are you going to blame?
HON. MR. LEVI: Blame? When did you get into the picture? Right at the end when the great panic was on. I didn't hear you getting worried about this six months ago. That group had an agreement with the department based on an estimate of $29,000. That was the basis of the agreement with the department. They didn't tell us that they had underestimated.
MRS. JORDAN: So you're going to blame them.
HON. MR. LEVI: You're the one who talks about the business of involving people. We said: "Go ahead and get an estimate," and they went ahead and got an estimate. It was an underestimate where there was a lack of 40 per cent in terms of inflation.
So you got into it at the very end. You're a good MLA; you really knew what was going on.
MRS. JORDAN: I am a good MLA.
HON. MR. LEVI: You didn't know what was going on. You have never spoken to me about it.
MRS. JORDAN: I have spoken to a member of your staff when you were away.
HON. MR. LEVI: When? Last week?
AN HON. MEMBER: When you were in Hawaii.
HON. MR. LEVI: No, no. Not Hawaii; it wasn't during Hawaii.
MRS. JORDAN: You live on the fat of the land at the taxpayer's expense.
HON. MR. LEVI: Okay. You've got no facts; all you've got is a lot of air, that's all.
Now let me talk about the picket line, because I really want to talk about that one.
MRS. JORDAN: Oh, now, I want you to answer on when you're going to pay the....
HON. MR. LEVI: I don't have to. To give you an answer on this I've got to deal with the people up there.
MRS. JORDAN: Are you going to pay them $35,000?
[ Page 1468 ]
HON. MR. LEVI: I have the report on my desk. When I look at it, I'll make a decision. But don't come in here telling us....
MRS. JORDAN: You mean that you haven't even looked into it?
HON. MR. LEVI: Don't come in here and tell us just half the story. Tell the rest of the story. You didn't say that they overspent, that they had underestimated. No, you didn't say that, as though it is the obligation of the government just to immediately knee-jerk and go out and pick up what people have done in terms of their lack of estimations.
MRS. JORDAN: They're not $103 million overspent.
HON. MR. LEVI: I now have a report which gives me an explanation so we'll have a....
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!
HON. MR. LEVI: Now, on the picket line. You wouldn't really know too much about this because you've never been on a picket line.
MRS. JORDAN: Oh, here comes the second coming again.
HON. MR. LEVI: Oh, the second coming? No, this is the first coming. First of all, there was nothing illegal about what I did on Saturday. There was nothing illegal.
MRS. JORDAN: ...your oath of office.
HON. MR. LEVI: There was nothing illegal about what I did on Saturday. If you listen, I'll tell you. There was nothing illegal about it. When I arrived there, I was informed that there was an injunction limiting the number of pickets to eight. I was duly declared an agent, a representative of the union and I was the eighth picketer. There was nothing illegal about it. I didn't know when I first arrived there then; I was told when I walked onto the scene.
The point is this: what have you got to do? Swallow all of the things that you stood for a great number of years and disregard them? Well, I can hide behind the fact that I'm a cabinet Minister.
I've been involved with that union for almost 15 years. If that was under provincial jurisdiction, there would have been a settlement a long time ago.
Now those are the two questions you asked me. You've got the answers.
MRS. JORDAN: A point of order, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to know if the Minister is under oath on the statements that he made in this House.
MR. CHAIRMAN: That's not a point of order.
HON. G.R. LEA (Minister of Highways): You've finally flipped.
MS. R. BROWN (Vancouver-Burrard): I'm going to be very brief so that some of the other Members get a chance to speak.
When one compares the Department of Human Resources that we have under this government with the Department of Rehabilitation and Social Improvement — or whatever they used to call it under the past government — it's amazing really that there is anything left to criticize about it. When one compares this Minister with the last Minister (Mr. Gaglardi) that he replaced, and when one things back to the infamous Bill 49, 1 think it really takes a lot of gall on the part of any of the Members of that opposition party to stand up and criticize this government about the things that we're doing in the area of day care and certainly in terms of our services to senior citizens and other people.
Nonetheless, there are one or two things that I'd like to speak to the Minister about, just in terms of a commitment. I want to talk specifically about day care. I think it's wonderful that we have at least 22,000 children covered by our day-care facilities in this province and I think it's wonderful that it's improving, that we've gone up 1,000 per cent or whatever the number is. I think the kind of day-care service that we're giving is excellent. But I would like us to have really long-term goals about our day-care plan.
I think that seeing that the children of this province have nutritious meals is one of the responsibilities of this government. I think that the best place to see this done, certainly, is through the kind of child-care facilities and the kind of day-care centres that we are responsible for.
I know that the Minister, when he was in Sweden, visited some of the day-care centres there, as I did. We've talked about the kind of services that the children in those day-care centres have. We both agree that they're rich, and, quite frankly, at this time we can't afford it. It's true that to give hot meals to the children in the day-care centres would cost an additional $48 million.
But what I would like to have from the Minister is a commitment that this is his long-term goal, that he really does see the supplying of a nutritious warm meal at least once a day to the children in those day-care centres as something that we would like to do as soon as it is possible, financially or otherwise, to do this.
[ Page 1469 ]
I know that it's not just money holding it up. I know we have to deal with things like the licensing and the kinds of requirements that come under community-care licences for stainless steel sinks and refrigerators and deep freezes and all the complicated things that go on, when one tries to serve hot meals in any kind of establishment that the government is responsible for. I recognize that these things can't be implemented now. I am also sympathetic to his position that you cannot give to one child-care centre and not give it to all the others. It really has to be universal; it has to include all the centres in the province.
But all I'm asking from the Minister is that he make a statement, saying that he recognizes that this is a valid kind of service that should be in our child-care centres and that there is some kind of a commitment to work towards this long-term goal in the very near future.
The second area that I would like to talk about is the area of the woman between the ages of 49 and 60. I talk about her every time I stand up, specifically in terms of this department. Really, this is where she ends up: because she is widowed, divorced, abandoned or deserted in some way, she suddenly finds herself, after 25, 30 or 35 years in the home, thrown back onto the labour market with no skills and unable to compete, quite frankly, on the labour market.
I have asked the Minister before and I am asking him again: let us study the needs of these women; let us find out where they are. Some research has to be done in terms of their needs so that they can be helped in terms of rehabilitation. Just putting them on welfare is not the solution. These women have something to contribute towards society and all they probably need is counseling or help.
There are a lot of various community groups. At the University of B.C., for example, through the continuing education department they are trying to do this in an ad hoc way. That department needs funding. I know they have appealed to the Minister in terms of getting funding for that.
But that's not enough. As long as we do this kind of ad hoc funding, people are going to fall between the crevices. The department should take on this kind of responsibility to do this research. Sure, some of them will end up as homemakers, but some of them may end up doing other things too. Let's find then); let's ask them what their needs are and try to design some kind of service that will meet these women's needs. They are ending up in transition houses; they are ending up in places like the Status of Women Council; they are ending up all over the place asking for help. And the resources aren't there.
This is Department of Human Resources; it's the one department that can address itself to those women's needs. I really hope that the Minister will seriously take a look at this third request on my part for some kind of movement in this area.
One of the things the Minister said earlier today was: "A child is a child is a child." I certainly agree with him on that. I would like to get from him some kind of explanation.
First of all, is it true that there is a different sum of money paid to a woman on welfare with a child in terms of child support than there is paid to a foster mother in terms of supporting that child? If there is this kind of difference, why is there the difference? Is there some kind of explanation?
I have received a number of letters on this. On one of them I noticed that the carbon copy actually went to the Minister. This mother insisted that because she was on social assistance her allotment in terms of taking care of her child was $60. If the same child was placed in a foster home, the foster mother would receive $132, plus the foster mother would be entitled to receive the family allowance cheque as well. The mother's allowance, including the family allowance, would come tip to a mere $60. Can you give us some kind of explanation as to why there is this difference in the amount of money to meet the needs of, as you say, a child who is a child who is a child?
My final statement has to do with the resources boards. The Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace) made a statement about $90 million going to Vancouver and $1 million to the rest of the province. I am sure you will agree with me, Mr. Minister, that $90 million is not enough. We are hearing continually from the resources boards that they have greater needs than that.
Specifically, I want to talk about the Kitsilano Resources Board, a board you and I share in our riding of Vancouver-Burrard. The people who ran for that resources board are a special interest group. They made no secret about it that, as far as they were concerned, the greatest need in that area has to do with housing — accommodation. That was the platform on which they ran and they were elected as an interest group. They are the resources board but their primary interest is in housing. They are finding that their allotment for housing, when they put in a request for funds, has been removed on the grounds that your department does not fund accommodation and this has to come through the Department of Housing, The resources board's position is that, as a resources board, they decide the needs of the community and the funds needed for the use of that community. They have decided that accommodation is a primary need in the Kitsilano area.
Would you like to make some kind of comment about what is going to happen to the funds for the Kitsilano Resources Board? Are they going to be able to carry through their responsibility in this area?
Finally, the area of pensions. I should have
[ Page 1470 ]
mentioned this, I guess, when I was talking about the 50-year-old women. I was at a conference recently in Ottawa where we spoke to Mr. Lalonde about this business of women being covered by the Canada Pension Plan. He informed us that the matter was being studied between the provincial and the federal government. Is this correct? Is your department in negotiation with the federal government as to whether women should be covered by the Canada Pension Plan or not? What is the status of this negotiation at this time? Have you made any kinds of recommendations in this area? If so, would you like to share them with us? Thank very much.
MR. A.V. FRASER (Cariboo): I won't be very long.
This Minister here is sure an expensive Minister. By the time we are through with his estimates of $516 million at 6 o'clock, it means that he is a $150-million-per-hour Minister.
HON. MR. MACDONALD: I'm only $60 million.
MR. FRASER: Yes, you, the Attorney-General, are only $60 million an hour. You are quite correct there, and you're not worth that, either.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. Vote 109, please.
MR. FRASER: Mr. Chairman, you've said this before, but I want to inform you. You weren't in the House and they changed all the rules while you were gone. You should get up to date, get that little memo we all got, and then you would find out that maybe I am in order.
I want to say just a few things about cut-off lands that the Member for North Vancouver-Capilano (Mr. Gibson) referred to. This Minister looks after this government's dealings on the Indian land claims. I want to deal specifically with the cut-off lands for a minute.
I listened to the Minister's reply to the Member for North Vancouver-Capilano and it seemed he asked: "Are you going to have to do something within six months?" You didn't even agree you would do anything within six months.
HON. MR. COCKE: You guys didn't do anything in 20 years.
MR. FRASER: I want to point out something that the Member for North Vancouver-Capilano didn't point out, where the Indians will probably take over the Lions Gate Bridge and a few things. They have already stopped economic development in the interior of British Columbia because of your inaction. I don't know how long this will continue until we can get it sorted out. I refer to the area west of Nazko.
They have stopped the forestry development there. In six months' time, that is going to affect a lot of jobs in the forest industry.
The Minister of Lands, Forests and Water Resources (Hon. R.A. Williams) knows all about it. Your colleague, Mr. Woody Woodpecker, knows all about it. Ask him. He has told them not to go in there because the Indians say that all the country is theirs. That is what is going on. It has also happened north of Alexis Creek, on forestry again, and it is going to affect established communities unless some decisions are arrived at.
As far as the cut-off lands are concerned, I have three areas in the Cariboo where they have cut-off lands — Nazko, Ulkatcho — and I realize Hansard will have a hard time getting these names — and Alexandria. There are thousands of acres of land involved. As far as the total subject of cut-off lands is concerned, I feel the Indians definitely have a legitimate claim.
I think it was a red Tory who was appointed. Wasn't that McBride a Tory who did this illegal act in 1912? Yes, right. I think my Dad was a Member of that government, as a matter of fact. In reading on the cut-off lands, I see that is definitely an illegal act and must be corrected.
The point I am trying to make, Mr. Minister, is the fact that your inaction in not dealing with these matters is already having an effect on the economy. As I understand it, the federal government will sit down, the B.C. Indian chiefs will sit down, but you won't sit down. I can't understand why you won't sit down. They have been after you now — I don't know how long you've had this responsibility but I believe it's about a year — and I think that the time is long past where you should sit down with the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs and the federal government because it is now having an effect. It is not something like the Lions Gate Bridge where they might take it over. They have already taken over sections of British Columbia. Let's get this thing settled once and for all. You are the one who is holding up the whole thing. I would like to see some action from you and a better answer then you gave the Member for North Vancouver-Capilano.
MR. P.C. ROLSTON (Dewdney): just a few words to the Minister regarding this "unemployable." I think all of us are really trying to work on this. You know, in Mission in the Mission Memorial Centre there is the Outreach department of Manpower which is working very closely with your department. Presumably in the Fraser Valley, where there is work in the bush and on some governments and in other projects, you can get these people working as well as sending them to classes.
But now that we do have a Department of Labour manpower committee, maybe you could comment on
[ Page 1471 ]
whether you have some kind of involvement in that new training programme for the people who seem to be traditionally unemployed. Maybe you might comment on the fact that there still is this turnover of young people up to age 25. I think you once said that nearly half of the unemployed employables receiving social assistance are these young people.
When you think of the number of young people who actually apply for Careers '74 or Careers '75 — our student employment programme — I just assume that there's a great number who actually want to work. We already hear the disappointment of people who seem to tell me that already some of those Careers '75 positions are filled. Presumably it will mean that people will be working in May. So that's one thing.
I'll just comment a little further on the whole liaison between Manpower and, of course, Outreach, which I gather is a Manpower-paid project of the federal government, and your workers who are specializing in that. I gather that even in the downturn of the economy 17,000 jobs are turning over in the greater Vancouver area — people are in and out of jobs. That's one thing I would like you to comment on.
Would you also comment on the pretty tight budgeting that private day care.... Here I'm talking about private day care in the community where there are up to 25 children, as opposed to day care in the home where, I think, you are allowed up to eight children. The difficulty of the pretty tight budgeting.... In our day cares we were offering — I think we're starting at $550 a month. Now you really can't attract anybody under $620 or maybe $625 a month — that's starting. Thankfully, in Mission we have a man now who is the day-care worker there. You're talking about somebody with a minimum of 10 courses beyond senior matric with a pay that is really not that attractive for a very demanding job. It's probably an 11 hour job. That person has to be around during the day for probably 11 hours. The difficulty of just attracting that kind of a person....
Other opposition Members, I think, have suggested that it should eventually be under the Department of Education. Yet they say: "Restrain the budget." You can imagine if it was a teacher's pay what the cost would be. It would be a lot more than $60 million for day care.
Of course, there's the problem of getting the training. The regional colleges — the junior colleges — have been very good, especially in my area with Fraser Valley College and Douglas College. But the real difficulty is getting the leader. Lots of people could be the assistant but to get the supervisor is a tremendous difficulty. We certainly appreciate Bunty Marshall and other people who are going around — Pat Long over in North Vancouver. They are very, very capable people, giving supervision and encouragement to the day-care supervisors.
Incidentally, I understood that day cares are private societies and if they can budget for at least hot soup they do. Certainly in our experience they budget for hot soup, which is preferable to the candies, cookies and things that are brought in.
It might interest the House: in one of the day cares in my riding you're talking of nearly half of the people where the parents are working and are nearly paying the entire scale themselves. I think the House should hear that. There is the widower who is entirely paying for his child in day care. There's really a delightful income mix, in fact, in some day cares. The socializing effect is really very, very encouraging.
There's a lot of stuff in and out of this House regarding the custody of juveniles. The fourth report of the Berger commission recommends that there be some kind of a secure remand centre to help juveniles kind of get it together. This would possibly be a 30-day cooling-off period and would be the responsibility of the family and children's branch of the Attorney-General. Obviously you're going to be involved — you were on a committee with the Ministers of Health (Hon. Mr. Cocke) and Education (Hon. Mrs. Dailly).
As we banter around the material from the Berger commission, it might be encouraging to at least hear some of your comments on this. Personally, I think you've heard me; I think there is a place for the custody, hopefully, of not very many, but some hard-core kids you can take out of the community. You mentioned the child in Cranbrook you took out of the community. It certainly did seem to loosen up some of the tensions.
I certainly support many other aspects of this: the whole business of committees, group homes and the great variety of other facilities for the juvenile you have described earlier.
One final thing on the homemaker: do I gather now that you're virtually funding the homemaker service? There are 80 that I gather you are now funding. The House should recognize that many of these were funded by the federal government, at least through LIP in a way. These are costs the provincial government has now taken over.
Again, it would be good to hear a little further from you on just where they are going on their relationship to health care and to home care. Hopefully, some of this stuff will be developed further at your conference.
One final question: is there any further funding on what we call halfway houses under the Alcohol and Drug Commission? Are you still in a period of simply holding and assessing? How is that assessment process developing? You and I have had misgivings about the lack of programme in some of these halfway houses. Several months have passed. How is that holding
[ Page 1472 ]
position turning out regarding the halfway houses as one of the models of dealing with the alcoholic?
MR. G.B. GARDOM (Vancouver–Point Grey): I'd like to hurry along because we are at 5:52 p.m. I know that no end of Members do wish an opportunity to say some words tonight, which they should be entitled to, and that right — I was going to say that privilege — unfortunately is going to be denied to them.
I think everybody will agree, Mr. Chairman, that the reserve system — I'm talking about the Indian reserve system — has resulted in a form of cloistering. And what was originally, perhaps, humanitarian and workable in concept has certainly proved to be not the case today, because we are no longer a community of trappers. Our society has developed in three phases: rural, then to resource development, and now it is becoming nearly 90 per cent urban. But over the 100 years plus, Mr. Chairman, the rules dealing with the Indian people, which were established almost totally without their consent and consultation, have not experienced anything like any part of the dynamic change and the betterment enjoyed by the rest of society.
I think it is very, very regretful that the Hon. Minister has essentially been designated the Minister of Indian affairs for British Columbia. I don't think there is any need whatsoever for a separate entity. There is only one door where the Indian community should be appealing in this province, coming to government for assistance, and for an opportunity to participate in the plans that should be made available to them.
The Indian communities, Mr. Chairman, that are fortunate enough to be close to the urban syndrome are emerging into our society far more quickly than their rural neighbours. But every Indian in this province is still being given the wrong end of the stick. The job for everyone in B.C. Is to agree that there shall be a change of attitude, and that change of attitude has got to come about; and it is the government's responsibility to lead the way.
You have got to remember, Mr. Chairman, that the Indian people are taxpayers. They contribute to provincial revenues just the same as everyone else, but they are denied provincial services. I say they are illegally denied provincial services. The theory that the only tax source is income tax — which is the one shelter an Indian has, if he is a reserve Indian, for income that may be earned on his reserve, which would be negligible, is gone with the wind. In just the same way as anyone else the Indian pays his 5 per cent tax, his motor vehicle user's taxes, his gasoline, building material taxes, motor licence, ICBC, manufacturing tax. He contributes to workers' compensation. He contributes to unemployment insurance and no end of other items. Furthermore, he also pays income tax, the same way everyone in here does, for any income that is earned off his reserve. But he doesn't run into any discrimination at all from the tax-gatherer.
Once you look, Mr. Chairman, at the other side of the ledger, the contribution in kind or the contribution in attitude of this province to the Indian, it is pitiful. A few dollars, true, have been spilled off into welfare, the First Citizens Fund and, recently, the home acquisition grant.
Ever since I came into this Legislature.... In fact, the very first speech I made in this Legislature was drawing to the attention of the legislative process in B.C. that the Indians are being illegally discriminated against, according to the correct interpretation of the law.
But the thing to do is to equip the Indian people, to give them the necessary tools in order that they can truly enable themselves to cope, and see that they can properly emerge into the mainstream of society, as they certainly should do. There is no way, Mr. Chairman, that the Indian can be denied his reserve, because that is his land.
But he has got to be given the chance and the opportunity to free himself from the fetters of the reserve system. To do that he has got to be equipped to cope, and we have got to instil feelings of confidence and equality — and I underline the word "equality" — in these people, and that is very, very difficult when their children in some cases attend a modern B.C. school in the daytime and in many cases cross the potholes each evening to return to squalor. Their daily living becomes a world of contradiction and insecurity.
The Province of British Columbia and this government have the legal, the moral and the governmental responsibility to do these things, and the constitutional sidestep is not only a dodge; it is an incorrect one at that. One positive step in reducing the legal apartness of the Indians is having him accepted as a citizen of the Province of British Columbia in every respect. Always the Indian Act is thrown up as being an obstacle to that, or the BNA Act. But they do not present any obstacle, because the Indian Act states in section 87: "Provincial laws of general application shall be applicable to and in respect of Indians in the province."
That means this: the Indian people are legally entitled to all of the plans all of the programmes. They are entitled to municipal aid; they're entitled to services; they are entitled; as the statute says, to the benefit of all laws of general application — all provincial laws of general application — and they are not receiving that legal entitlement from this government, as they did not receive it from every former administration in the Province of British Columbia.
It's a sorry criticism; it's a criticism that every
[ Page 1473 ]
government in this province has had to bear, and correctly bear. Now we have a government that has an opportunity — and I would tend to think the motivation — to do something about it and it has not acted. It, too, is taking the constitutional sidestep. The constitutional sort of shell-game that is being played is much like the life-guard rowing away from a drowning person and saying he's going to go off shift and it's some other person's responsibility. That kind of a shiftless attitude is not going to go ahead and cure anything.
I would charge the NDP caucus with the duty and the responsibility of meeting tonight and passing a resolution, and coming into this House this evening and stating categorically that all British Columbia Indians shall be entitled to the same services and entitled to the benefit of the same laws as every other citizen in the Province of B.C. I say it's high time we forgot the red tape and the "i" dotting and the constitutional gobbledygook that saddled this very, very sorry problem for over 100 years. Put an end to the Hiawatha thinking and look at the doors that can be opened and not the ones that are incorrectly closed. Do the fair thing. Do the proper thing.
HON. MR. LEVI: Well, I must congratulate the Member. He had much better luck than his colleague from North Vancouver (Mr. Gibson) when he started to — speak on the Indian question. There were no Socreds in the House and I think there were only two Liberals, but you got kind of a full house.
I think, Mr. Member, I answered most of the points that you raised. There were two basic questions, which I answered.
HON. MR. LEVI: Let me just answer quickly some of the questions — also to the Member for Dewdney (Mr. Rolston). I answered all of the questions you raised, Mr. Member, when your seatmate spoke — that is, the Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace.) (Laughter.)
I just wanted to reply to the Member for North Okanagan (Mrs. Jordan). She raised the issue of the adoption registry. I wonder if you remember, Madam Member, that it was your government that tabled the report in 1971 recommending that you look at adoption registry and subsidized adoption. But, of course, you don't remember that — probably didn't read the report.
HON. MR. LEVI: But you don't remember that, obviously. You thought it was something I thought up.
HON. MR. LEVI: No, no. Phil brought it in. Phil had the idea about that.
HON. MR. LEVI: Nobody said it was a great idea. We said we would sound out the public on it.
HON. MR. LEVI: The report will be down in two or three days.
To the Second Member for Vancouver-Burrard (Ms. Brown), I want to deal with the issue of the payment to foster parents versus the payments made to people on welfare. The arrangement we have, of course, with foster parents is one of the...we are purchasing a service. There are a number of expenses that they have, and that cost runs around $9 million for some 6,000 children. We spend on children — the 70,000 children we have on welfare — over $60 million. There's a very significant cost. It really is a question as to how you devise a mechanism to move the money around in a more meaningful way. At the moment we are locked in to those two costs: 70,000 children on welfare at $60 million and some $9 million for foster parent payments. It is not practical, certainly not at this time, to consider that we'll be able to do both.
HON. MR. LEVI: Well, no. It's cost shared, but yes, there's also perhaps that other factor. We have limits to which we can go, of course. That's the other question.
On the nutrition thing, I'm not aware that we've had a great deal of discussion in the province around the issue of nutrition. Perhaps we should have, but we haven't, particularly in relation to children. As I said to the group that was here today, such a proposal as they made would have to apply to everyone. I'm not aware of any significant response from the community — or voicing from the community — that this is necessary. What we've tried to do is develop day-care centres, as the Member for Dewdney (Mr. Rolston) pointed out. They have been able to build it into their budget so that they can serve some hot soup, but the provision of a meal is a costly item. It also, of course, can have very serious ramifications from my colleague, the Hon. Minister of Education (Hon. Mrs. Dailly.)
I think that's all of the questions I can recall that I was asked.
The House resumed; Mr. Speaker in the chair.
[ Page 1474 ]
MR. CHAIRMAN: The committee reports progress and asks leave to sit again.
Hon. Mr. Lea files an answer to a question. (See appendix.)
Hon. Mrs. Dailly moves adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 6:30 p.m.
143 Mr. Phillips asked the Hon. the Minister or Highways the following questions:
The Hon. G. R. Lea replied as follows:
||Dates Put in Service||Dates Taken Out Of Service Service|
|1970||April 15||December 3|
|1971||April 15||January 3, 1972|
|1972||May 4||January 9, 1973|
|1973||April 3||December 28|
|1974||April 29||January 1, 1975|
||Mechanical Down Time (Hours)||Landing Problem Down Time (Hours)|
"3. GVW of trucks not recorded; load limit is 25 tons (may be restricted by low and high-water)."